Srinagar, Feb. 6: The Centre has “held back” moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s travel documents, effectively scuppering his plans to visit Cairo for a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Conference that kicked off today.
Separatist sources said Delhi’s move amounted to a snub to the 57-member bloc, which has been pursuing a pro-active stand on Kashmir.
A Hurriyat spokesman said the Mirwaiz was scheduled to attend the OIC summit on February 6 and 7. “It is highly regretful that the Mirwaiz could not attend the summit as travel documents were held back by the authorities for reasons known to them,” the spokesman said.
The Mirwaiz, whose Hurriyat has observer status at the OIC, had been camping in Delhi for his onward journey to Cairo.
The Hurriyat leader’s passport has a year’s validity. “Its validity had expired in December last after his Pakistan visit. We had applied for fresh documents but they were not issued,” a Hurriyat source said.
The Hurriyat claimed Delhi’s action was undemocratic and amounted to putting an “embargo on the freedom of speech of people and groups”.
A government official rejected the allegation, saying the Mirwaiz had applied for the travel document only in the first week of January and the papers were being processed on a routine basis.