The government has revoked Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card of New York-based author and journalist- Aatish Ali Taseer, for not “complying with basic requirement and hiding information about his father’s Pakistani origin”, which was essential for its renewal.
According to MHA spokesperson Vasudha Gupta, Taseer hid his father’s Pakistani identity while submitting his application. He was given the opportunity to reply to MHA’s objection but he failed to ‘dispute the notice’. “Thus, 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,” tweeted Gupta.
Mr. Taseer was given the opportunity to submit his reply/objections regarding his PIO/OCI cards, but he failed to dispute the notice.
— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) November 7, 2019
After the government revoked Taseer’s OCI on ‘technical issue’ of not complying with norms, the freelance journalist has resorted to victim game. He wrote an article in Time magazine titled “I am Indian. Why is the Government Sending Me Into Exile?” in which he argued that his OCI was cancelled due to criticism of Modi government and because his father was Pakistani.
“I am Westernized; I am English-speaking; I am part of the despised elite whose entrenched power had helped fuel the rise of Modi. But there was another aspect of my identity that made me especially vulnerable to attack: my father was born in British India to a British mother and a father who became Pakistani when that country was created,” wrote Taseer in the article.
Aatish Taseer is a typical ‘liberal elite’, the kind of person most despised by common people of any country. He was born to Salman Taseer, the former Governor of the Punjab province of Pakistan and Tavleen Singh, Senior Indian journalist who contributes regularly to English dailies. His paternal grandfather, Muhammad Din Taseer made all efforts to bring Jammu and Kashmir under Pakistan after partition. He was sent with Faiz Ahmad Faiz to persuade Sheikh Abdullah to join supporters of J&K’s integration with Pakistan and when Abdullah refused, he threatened that Pakistan would use “other ways” if Kashmir does not join Pakistan peacefully. He grew up in an elite residential school in Kodaikanal, a hill station in Tamil Nadu and completed graduation from Amherst College, United States.
According to 38 year old author, who spent most of his life in India but did not felt the necessity to have permanent citizenship, “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.”
Taseer, who held British citizenship despite the fact that he had not spent a single year in the country and didn’t take Indian citizenship in spite spending majority of life in the country, making a case for Indian citizenship was like “making a case for why one’s name was one’s name. I was Indian because I just was.”
In the article, he further argued, “The government that stripped me of my overseas citizenship had just stripped the state of Jammu and Kashmir of statehood, autonomy and basic human freedoms. In the northeastern state of Assam, it was acting to strip 1.9 million people – the great majority Muslim, – of citizenship, rendering them stateless.”
The article in TIME magazine, which according to Taseer was the ‘reason’ behind the revocation of OCI, is based on the argument that Modi has failed to deliver on his economic agenda promised in 2014 and therefore chose ‘religious nationalism’. However, it fails to mention the important macroeconomic reforms like GST, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and the formulation of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) under the Modi government. The healthy economic growth despite the odds in the global economic climate also goes unmentioned. The article makes some sound arguments but the omission of important facts made it weak and just another attempt at maligning the image of the Modi government.