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India Revokes Overseas ID Of Journalist Aatish Taseer Over Failure To Disclose Pakistani Origin Of Father

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    The Indian government has decided to revoke the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card of author and journalist Aatish Taseer owing to his alleged attempt to ‘conceal information’ about the Pakistani origins of his father, Salmaan Taseer.

    The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has said that Aatish Taseer had failed to dispute the notice sent to him pertaining to the matter.

    According to The Hindu, the notice stated that Aatish Taseer only gave details of his mother, Indian journalist Tavleen Singh, and did not disclose that his father, the former governor of Pakistan’s Punjab, was of Pakistani origin.

    In his reply, Aatish had maintained that his parents have never been legally married and his sole legal guardian was his mother.

    Aatish was quoted in The Hindu as saying that his parent’s relationship had occurred when they were residents in the United Kingdom. Aatish futher said that Salmaan Taseer had stated that he was a UK citizen in possession of a British passport.

    Aatish Taseer came in possession of the Person of Indian Origion (PIO) card in 2000, while living in the United States. The PIO allows visa-free travel to India and was later converted by Aatish into an OCI card.

    In his application, he had referred to Salmaan Taseer as being a British national to the ‘best of his knowledge’.

    Aatish is expected to challenge the decision against his overseas citizenship.

    In May, the journalist had been at the receiving end of intense criticism from members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, when he wrote an article for Time magazine, accusing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of following divisive policies and calling the prime minister the ‘divider in chief’.

    In response to the article, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had called him a ‘Pakistani national’ engaged in promoting the country’s propaganda.

    It is being said that the decision to revoke Aatish Taseer’s OCI was linked to his criticism of the Indian prime minister.

    The Indian Home Ministry had said that the OCI decision was not a result of what Aatish Taseer had written for the Time Magazine.

    According to an article in theprint.in, it was due to the publication of the article that the government was considering revoking Aatish’s OCI status.

    Moreover, news outlet The Wire held that the decision to revoke the OCI status of the journalist was a ‘direct fallout’ of his article on Time Magazine.

    Indian member of parliament Jairam Ramesh condemned the home ministry’s act and said that it was expected, adding that all critical voices were snooped on, harassed, or muzzled.

    Indian journalist Asim Ali, in an apparent criticism of Aatish Taseer, reminded people of how Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been welcomed by Aatish as an anti-elite force in India. While terming this an act of ‘extreme gullibility’, he added that Modi’s main opposition came from populations in the south, who were not English-speaking elites.

    He added that the Hindutva movement was not anti-elite, and was until recently composed of the most privileged sections of India.

    He was of the view that there was a lesson for ‘introspecting liberals’ in Aatish Taseer’s coup de grace. He said that those trying to perpetuate this anti-elite narrative to soften the image of this fascist government would be the next ones in line after the government is done with the marginalised people.

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