SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir
A court in Indian-administered Kashmir on Monday dismissed a plea in which a former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, had contended that Indian passport authorities were denying her a passport.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court had asked the regional Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which clears or withholds an applicant’s plea for a passport, to explain why Mufti’s application for the renewal of her passport had not been approved.
Hearing her plea, the court said it “found no reason to interfere with the course of action adopted” by the CID, which has submitted that her case is “not recommended.”
However, the court said Mufti can now appeal before the Chief Passport Officer and Ministry of External Affairs within 30-day period.
Mufti had filed a petition in court on March 3 seeking the issuance of her passport and the protection of her fundamental rights.
Later, Mehbooba said the government refused to renew her passport based on a report from the regional CID, claiming she is a “threat to the security of India.”
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president took to Twitter to ask if a former chief minister has become a threat to a “mighty nation” by keeping a passport.
“The Passport Office refused to issue my passport based on the CID’s report, citing it as ‘detrimental to the security of India.’ This is the level of normalcy achieved in Kashmir since Aug. 2019 that a former chief minister holding a passport is a threat to the sovereignty of a mighty nation,” Mehbooba tweeted.
Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965, and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.