Mirwaiz’s US-born wife allowed to stay on by court, supporters happy

October 18th, 2008 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Oct 18 (IANS) Sheeba Masoodi, the US-born wife of senior Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, has been allowed to stay on in the country with the state high court suspending a deportation notice served on her. The court decision was welcomed by his supporters Saturday.The Jammu and Kashmir foreigners’ registration office had issued notice Oct 4 to Sheeba, who is born to Kashmiri parents, to leave the country within 10 days as her request for extension of visa had not been recommended by the state government.

The single bench of the high court Friday stayed the deportation notice, thereby providing relief to Mirwaiz’s wife. Her counsel had argued that she is a permanent resident of Jammu and Kashmir as she was born to Kashmiri parents and her birth in America had been reported to the Indian consulate as required by the law.

“She is a citizen of Kashmir and her right to live here is as natural as of any other citizen of the state,” said Gulam Muhammad, 47, a businessman living in the old city area of the state’s summer capital Srinagar.

There had been palpable anger, especially in the old city area which is the stronghold of the Mirwaiz family, over the deportation notice.

“How can the government deport a citizen of Kashmir when he/she is a Kashmiri and his/her parents are natives?” said Muzaffar Ahmad, 48, a local businessman.

Some believe that the relief provided by the court to Mirwaiz’s wife would also apply to others in the state facing a similar problem.

“This would finally become applicable to all others who have been served deportation notices after the expiry of their visas,” said Khurshid Wani, a lawyer.

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