Around 2.82 lakh Passport applications cleared, 805 rejected in past 3 years: J&K Police

SRINAGAR — Around 2.82 lakh passport verification applications were cleared and only 805 rejected in the past three years, Jammu and Kashmir Police said on Saturday as it defended “deep vetting” of activities of several sections, including politicians and scribes, noting it was needed to curb “anti-India propaganda machinery”.

It said the current initiatives taken by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters have yielded dividends as the misuse of passports by anti-national elements has shown a downward trend.

The police said 143 passport applicants including a prominent businessman and a journalist have misused the facility and became part of the propaganda machinery to spread hatred against the country.

“The course correction was made from time to time to defeat the nefarious designs of anti-national elements, who are changing their trends to deceive the security forces, first by choosing the targets with clean records and later on radicalising them to resort to activities which suit them to accomplish their nefarious designs,” police said in a statement here.

It said, “Deep vetting was mandatory to check the activities of religious leaders, politicians, lawyers and journalists to put curbs on anti-India propaganda machinery and to expose them. A good number of violators were put on exit control.”

It said that loopholes were plugged to ensure that students with a clean image who are desirous of pursuing higher education outside the country do not face any hurdle in availing of the passport facility.

“However, riders were necessary to rule out the cases having an adverse background and inclination towards militancy or secessionism, who were clandestinely sponsored by different militant outfits to achieve their nefarious designs and glorify the militancy.

“Passport verification cases are being cleared purely on the basis of field reports and CID organisation has no modus operandi to dispose of these cases on pick and choose basis, neither on the basis of region, religion or political affiliation nor there is any selective application of rules and regulations,” the police said.

It said the passport cases cleared by field agencies are being sent to the RPOs concerned within the stipulated period.

CID headquarters has also issued comprehensive guidelines in the form of SOPs to plug the loopholes to avoid any misuse of passport facilities.

Giving a break-up of cases received during the past three years, the police said against a total of 2,87,715 applications, as many as 2,81,759 cases were cleared. Only 805 were not cleared and 5,151 cases were pending.

“Scrutiny of the records relating to the cases received and disposed of by the CID headquarters reveals that during last three years, a negligible/minuscule percentage of cases viz 0.28 percent cases were ‘not recommended’ due to adversities purely in view of national security concern,” the police said.

In the past, it said, the CID Headquarters cleared some cases on the basis of personnel character, but later the passport facility was misused and the applicants indulged in anti-national activities by becoming part of a disinformation campaign to spread hatred against the nation.

The police said 143 passport applicants misused the facility and became part of the propaganda machinery to spread venom and hatred against the country.

Police detected as many as 54 youths who were wrongly given passport service during 2017-18 and all of them went to Pakistan and received training in arms, ammunition and explosives at terrorist training camps.

Many of them were pushed back into J-K through the Line of Control and 26 of them died while either crossing or during encounters in the hinterland, the police said.

The lives of 12 of these youngsters could be saved by the CID after their return from Pakistan by bringing them under preventive custody so that terrorist-separatist syndicates do not succeed in pressuring them to join terror ranks.

It said 13 passport holders did not return from Pakistan and were active in propagating violence against India.

“Apparently, there were no signs of radicalisation and later were overwhelmed by the ideology and came under the influence of enemy agents,” the police said.

It referred to former Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries president Mubeen Shah of Srinagar who was provided the passport facility in 2018 and became an important tool of propaganda machinery, leaving no platform to tarnish and malign the image of India.

The police also referred to Asif Maqbool Dar, a doctor from Baramulla, and said he was working as a mouthpiece of ISI and Pakistan-based separatist leaders.

Mukhtar Ahmad Baba, a journalist who went to Turkey on a valid travel document, started propagating an anti-India narrative, while Majeed Irshad Khan was cleared for issuance of a passport on October 26, 2017 and later joined the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant outfit on November 9 of the same year.

Shabir Ahmad Dar was cleared in 2013 and started uploading anti-India posts on reaching Saudi Arabia, the police said.

Waseem Raja Malla who was performing security duties with political leaders, fled with service rifles and joined terrorist ranks before he was killed by security forces in 2022. A passport was also recovered from him. — (PTI)