At the centre of a storm over his Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) being revoked, Aatish Taseer penned an emotional piece in Time magazine where he stated how he had always been Indian, even though he was born in the UK.
Taseer wrote that he was first informed about the effort to take away his OCI status in September, and that he had been raised in India as an Indian by his mother Tavleen Singh.
Taseer writes that he was born in Britain and that at no time in the past was his citizenship questioned.
He wrote: “I had expected a reprisal, but not a severing. While the government did not initially reveal their motivations behind this action, they have now stated their reasons for removing my OCI: “concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani origin.” But it is hard not to feel, given the timing, that I was being punished for what I had written.”
He goes on to add that ‘India is his country’: “India is my country. The relationship is so instinctive that, like an unwritten constitution, I had never before felt it necessary to articulate it.
I could say I was Indian because I had grown up there, because I knew its festivals and languages, and because all five of my books were steeped in its concerns and anxieties.
Though I am a British citizen by birth, the OCI, as a substitute for dual citizenship, had made this bond even more real, as it had for so many people of Indian origin worldwide.”
He goes on to write how he was set to fly to India from Greece, but a lawyer warned him against doing so for fear being detained.
The MHA said in an official statement: “Govt. considers revoking Author Aatish Ali Tasser's OCI card after his Time article.", as reported by #ThePrint, is a complete misrepresentation and is devoid of any facts. Mr. Aatish Ali Taseer, while submitting his PIO 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.”
Interestingly, the Registration of the Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder states:
"Provided further that no person, who or either of whose parents or grandparents or great grandparents or has been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or such other country as the Central Govt may, by notification in the Official Gazette.”
However, Taseer’s mother Taveleen Singh has always maintained that he was raised by her wrote: “Aatish’s mother has also always been an Indian citizen. And, his right to live here was never questioned until he wrote an article that the Home Minister did not like.”