Aatish Taseer, British-born celebrated writer and columnist, opened up about the entire OIC controversy with a thought-provoking, emotional piece in TIME magazine on Friday. The write-up comes a day after the Narendra Modi government via Twitter announced that Taseer’s Overseas Citizenship of India status was revoked. In an article titled - I am Indian. Why is the Government Sending Me Into Exile? – Taseer spoke about how this entire exercise looked like a punishment by the Modi government for his ‘India’s Divider in Chief’ article in the same magazine. The 38-year-old, who is son of veteran Indian journalist Tavleen Singh and late Pakistani politician Salmaan Taseer, now won’t be able to enter India.
As per the Citizenship Act, if the registration as an OCI card holder was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact, the registration as OCI card holder shall be cancelled. The person will also be blacklisted thereby banning his or her future entry into India.
Taseer voiced his pain, his alienation by saying that this was not his case only. “It is easy to see my situation as individual or unique. But it is symptomatic of a much larger movement,” Taseer wrote.
“Out of a habit of mind, I clung to the idea of India as a liberal democracy, the world’s largest. But entering the United States in September, I was aware for the first time that I was no longer merely an immigrant, no longer someone moving between his home country and an adoptive one. I was an exile,” he concluded.
On Thursday, a Home Ministry spokesperson said Taseer becomes ineligible to hold an OCI card, as per the Citizenship Act, 1955, as the OCI card is not issued to any person whose parents or grandparents are Pakistanis. Taseer has clearly not complied with very basic requirements and hidden information, the spokesperson said.
Reacting to the Home Ministry statement, Taseer wrote on Twitter that he was not given 21 days to reply to the ministry notice but just 24 hours. “This is untrue. Here is the Consul General’s acknowledgment of my reply. I was given not the full 21 days, but rather 24 hours to reply. I’ve heard nothing from the ministry since,” he had said on micro-blogging site.