Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and president of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mehbooba Mufti, was denied passport by the authorities on Monday.
A communication addressed to Mehbooba Mufti by the Passport Officer has informed her that the J&K CID, which is the nodal agency for the verification of an applicant’s antecedents, has opposed the grant of passport to her.
She has been informed that she can appeal to the competent authority in the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in case she wants to file her grievance against the decision to reject her passport application.
Mufti tweeted, “Passport Office refused to issue my passport based on CID’s report citing it as ‘detrimental’ to the security of India. This is the level of normalcy achieved in Kashmir since August 2019 that an ex-Chief Minister holding a passport is a threat to the sovereignty of a mighty nation.”
MEA, in a communique to Mufti, states that her passport case was rejected under the provision of Section 6 (2) (c) of the Passport Act 1967, which says that the departure of the applicant from India may, or is likely to be, detrimental to the security of India.
MEA added that the decision to reject Mufti’s passport case was taken after the Crime Investigation Department of the Jammu and Kashmir Police in its verification report stated, “…do not favour issuance of Passport and returned (it) as ‘Not Recommended Passport Case.’”
Last week, the former CM was questioned by the ED in Srinagar in a money laundering case, following which she had tweeted, “GOI is trying to dismantle PDP by luring & threatening its members. Investigative agencies like ED are being used to intimidate me. To make matters worse, I’m being denied my fundamental right to a passport. If this isn’t political vendetta then what is?”
On her questioning by the ED, Mufti wrote, “To set the record straight, during the course of my questioning at ED, right from the start I insisted on not signing any statements till I consulted my lawyers. But I was shown rule books & told that not signing would have consequences.”
She added, “Finally, despite my reluctance, I was forced to sign a statement which is evident from the CCTV of my questioning.”
Mufti, along with other veteran leaders, was placed under detention in August 2019 after the Centre scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under the Constitution. Following this, the state was bifurcated into two Union Territories.