New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday revoked British-born author Aatish Taseer’s Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, saying in a statement that he had concealed information that his late father was of Pakistani origin.
The ministry’s statement came after there were reports in a section of media that its action against Taseer was due to him calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘Divider-in-Chief‘ in an article in TIME Magazine in May, while the general elections were on.
MHA spokesperson Vasudha Gupta also tweeted, “Mr. Aatish Ali Taseer, while submitting his PIO (Person of Indian Origin) application, concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani origin. Mr. Taseer was given the opportunity to submit his reply/objections regarding his PIO/OCI cards, but he failed to dispute the notice.”
“Thus, Mr. Aatish Ali Taseer becomes ineligible to hold an OCI card, as per the Citizenship Act, 1955. He has clearly not complied with very basic requirements and hidden information,” she added.
The author, however, countered the MHA’s argument and said that instead of the full 21 days, he was given just 24 hours to reply to its notice, which was sent to him in August. According to reports, he will legally challenge the revocation of his OCI status.
A foreign citizen of Indian origin who holds an OCI status can travel to India visa-free and live and work here indefinitely. The government merged the PIO with the OCI in 2015.
Aatish Taseer is the son of senior Indian journalist Tavleen Singh and late Pakistani politician Salman Taseer who was the Governor of Punjab when he was assassinated in January 2011 by his own bodyguard due to his anti-blasphemy law views.