Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said that the government has denied her a passport over “national security” concerns. The Regional Passport Officer said her passport has been rejected based on an “adverse” police verification report. This comes days after the Enforcement Directorate grilled Mufti in a money laundering case.
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.”
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a communique to Mehbooba Mufti states that the passport case of Mehbooba Mufti 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.
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 Aug 2019 that an ex Chief Minister holding a passport is a threat to the sovereignty of a mighty nation. pic.twitter.com/3Z2CfDgmJy— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) March 29, 2021
MEA added that the decision to reject the passport case of Mufti 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 as ‘Not Recommended Passport Case.’
Last week, the former chief minister 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, Mehbooba 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.”
Finally, despite my reluctance, I was forced to sign a statement which is evident from the CCTV of my questioning, she added.
However after the rejection of the passport, one of the close aides of the former chief minister told CNN News18, that the party will explore all legal options to challenge the MEA decision in the court of law.
Since 2019, Mehbooba Mufti along with other veteran leaders was placed under detention after the Centre scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under the Constitution. Following which the state was bifurcated into two Union Territories.