A 15-year-old girl from Kashmir named Sufaira Jan has been denied a passport she needs to study in America because her uncle served as a militant in 1995. The Kashmiri orphan had received a full scholarship to travel and study for a year in America, but because the Kashmiri government will not assign Sufaira a passport, she will not be able to attend school in America.
Sufaira earned the scholarship after passing four difficult tests, and attending an interview in Delhi this March. The scholarship is from the India-US Youth Exchange Study Program – a common method for high-school students to study abroad. Sufaira earned the scholarship through hard work and dedication, but now will be unable to attend due to her uncle’s actions before Sufaira was born.
In the mid 90’s, Sufaira’s uncle served as a militant tasked with disturbing and overthrowing the Kashmir government. The uncle did not succeed in his role, and surrendered in 1995.
Sufaira spoke about the unfair decision. She said, “The government doesn't understand that if my uncle was a militant in the past, and is now surrendered and lives a normal life, what is my fault? I am not a militant."
Luckily for Sufaira, the Kashmir government may change its mind as this story continues to produce negative PR for the area. Kashmir’s Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has already come out claiming that Sufaira’s passport can and will be granted to her.
Sufaira sure hopes so. She said, “I really want to go to America - I cleared all the exams successfully. Even my friends are praying for me."