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Geelani denied visa by US
March 28, 2007 15:48 IST
His family said they were called to the US consulate in Mumbai where they were conveyed the decision of the US State Department barring Geelani, who is suffering from cancer in the kidney, to travel to America. Geelani, also the Chairman of the breakaway Hurriyat Conference, had approached the US for visa to undergo treatment using laser therapy.
When contacted, a US Embassy spokesperson confirmed that Geelani's request for visa was turned down.
Asked on what grounds his visa request was denied, the spokesperson said under US laws, information about visa application was confidential but "...Geelani has consistently failed to renounce violence as means of achieving his political goal in Kashmir."
"US supports India and Pakistan's ongoing discussions on how to resolve important bilateral issues including the question of Kashmir," the spokesperson said.
Normal relations and increase in trade and people-to-people ties will benefit both countries and the region, the spokesperson said, adding steps both countries took following 2005 earthquake in Kashmir were particularly encouraging.
Geelani was operated at Tata Memorial Hospital on Monday and the doctors had successfully removed the malignant tumour from his only surviving kidney.
He was admitted to the hospital on March 21. 77-year-old Geelani, whose one kidney was removed in 2003, had been detected with cancer in the other earlier this month by doctors at Apollo hospital in Delhi.