India allows Umar Farooq to attend conference
NEW DELHI: The Indian government on Wednesday allowed former Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to go to South Africa to attend a five-day religious conference. A meeting on Wednesday morning cleared his travel documents but rejected the application of hardline leader Syed Ali Geelani.
A meeting of top Home Ministry officials rejected Mr Geelani’s plea on the pretext that he would use his tour to “spew venom” against India and its institutions. Sources said Mr Farooq had asked permission to attend the conference and said his aim was to attend political meetings of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) in New York and in Kaula Lumpur. Mr Farooq was given a passport after it was suspended 10 months ago for his anti-Indian activities. According to a letter issued by the Indian government, his new passport will be operational for a period of 10 days beginning on October 18.
“The government will closely watch his movements and speeches in Cape Town in order to decide further extension of his papers,” an official said. Mr Farooq had been frequently writing to the government asking for his travel documents to be released so he could join his American-born wife in Washington. He had recently sent a copy of the invitation along with an application to the secretary (passport) in the Indian government. He had been invited to attend the International Conference on Islamic Jurisprudence beginning on October 16 in Cape Town. —Staff Report