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J&K: Iltija Mufti Pulls up Authorities for Issuing Conditional Passport

Anees Zargar |
After her passport expired last year, Iltija Mufti has been reissued a passport on a two-year validity condition that she could only travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for higher studies.
Iltija Mufti

Image Courtesy: Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: Iltija Mufti, daughter of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti, on Friday lashed out at the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir over the conditional issuance of her passport and accused them of misleading the judiciary.

After her passport expired last year, Iltija Mufti has been reissued a passport on a two-year validity condition that she could only travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for higher studies.

The 35-year-old had approached the Jammu and Kashmir high court. The Srinagar passport office denied her documents citing an adverse report from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), the J&K police’s investigation wing. She accused the police department of playing the “worst role” at the behest of the Central government in New Delhi.

In a presser at PDP headquarter in Srinagar, Iltija Mufti alleged that the CID and the Deputy Solicitor General misled the court about her passport and demanded that the petition be “dismissed”.

The passport officer has flouted rules. If I am being provided with a conditional passport, I must be given a reason for it. The CID has kept my report confidential, but I know because there is nothing substantial in it,” Iltija Mufti said.

She added that not only is holding a passport a fundamental right, but so is to speak freely and express one’s opinion.

Why am I then being treated like a hardened criminal like Nirav Modi? Have I taken loans worth thousands of crores from the banks, or am I a conman? A conman like Kiran Patel is provided top security protocol by the CID,” Iltija Mufti said.

Iltija Mufti questioned why the Official Secrets Act (OSA), enacted against a citizen during espionage charges, was invoked in her case despite her being a “law-abiding citizen” with no case against her. The J&K and Ladakh High Court had slammed the authorities earlier in January for denying a passport to Mehbooba Mufti’s mother, Gulshan Nazir and ordered direction for the issuance.

The CID is lying in the court, harassing and persecuting the people of Kashmir like the Gestapo in Nazi Germany persecuted the Jews,” she said.

The youngest daughter of Mehbooba Mufti added that what she is facing is also a reflection of the lack of accountability in the region. She said that Kashmir has been witnessing misrule since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019. Mufti also discussed the crackdown on human rights activists like Khurram Parvez, students and journalists like Irfan Mehraj.

Even holding a passport has been criminalised. I am not Nirav Modi or any fugitive or a terrorist. If I speak against the Central government, that does not mean I am against the country, and it is not just about me; so many are facing this,” she said.

If this is happening to me, imagine what a common person is facing. Whether it is journalists or students, everyone is being pressured. There is no freedom to talk, and those who speak are lodged in jails,” she said.

Several politicians, civil society members and journalists have been denied travel documents reportedly, while others are believed to be on a list that bans them from travelling outside the country. In October last year, photojournalist Sanna Mattoo was barred by immigration authorities from boarding a flight to receive her Pulitzer award in New York.

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