The wife and son of Syed Salahuddin, head of the PoK-based Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit, have been given security clearance for issuance of passports which they had sought for performing Haj pilgrimage.
Taja Begum, wife of Mohammad Yousuf Shah alias Salahuddin, and their son Shaid Yousuf applications have been cleared by Jammu and Kashmir crime investigation department (CID) for issuance of passports to them, official sources said today.
Salahuddin also heads United Jehad Council, an amalgam of 13 militant outfits. The CID clearance came following the intervention of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who was convinced that the applicants intended to visit abroad "purely for the purpose of performing their religious duties," sources said.
The duo had applied for passport last year for performing Haj which was not issued to them pending CID clearance. Last year, the sources said, the state government had cleared passport applications of more than 600 such people who are relatives of persons involved directly or indirectly in militancy.
"More such cases were being evaluated," the sources said. The state government had in February last year issued instructions that relatives of militants shall not be denied passports if it is established that they are travelling for personal reasons and not for any political or other activities.
The chief minister had also announced in the Assembly during the recently concluded budget session that the passports would not be denied to the kin of militants if the track record of the applicants was clear.
This is the second time in last six months that the chief minister has personally intervened in such a matter. Earlier, a young Kashmiri footballer was denied the travel document as his father was found to be involved in militancy.
The applicant, Shabir Ahmad, a budding football player, was given clearance to visit Spain to pursue a specialised coaching programme.
Passports to children of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Ali Mohammad Dar alias Burhan-ud-Din Hijazi were also issued to enable them to go abroad for higher studies in the medical field.
Travel documents of a young female rugby player Salihah Yousuf, daughter of JKLF leader Mohammad Yousuf Sheikh, was also cleared in March last year to allow her to represent the country at world junior championship in Bangkok.
"Even a former militant was also issued passport to go to Pakistan for kidney transplant," the sources said. However, an NGO alleged intelligence agencies had "blacklisted" more than 60,000 Kashmiris who have been denied passports.