Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said on Monday that she has been denied an Indian passport by the Regional Passport Office, based on an “adverse” police verification report. Mehbooba was under custody for a year until October 2020 and is currently being investigated in a money laundering case. Officials had earlier said that “an adverse report” has been filed against her by the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID), but refused to elaborate saying the matter would be taken up before the High Court.
In a letter to the People's Democratic Party (PDP) president, the passport office has informed Mehbooba that her application for an Indian passport has been rejected as the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Union Territory had recommended against granting the document to her. The former Chief Minister and PDP leader shared the letter on Twitter, saying, "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."
The letter adds that Mehbooba can appeal against the decision at a higher forum provided by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The PDP leader has alleged that the government is misusing agencies like the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and that she is being targeted because of her dissenting views.
In August 2019, Mehbooba Mufti, along with hundreds of political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, was placed under detention when the Union government scrapped the state’s special status granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and bifurcated it into two Union Territories. She was released in October last year.