Post a day it was reported that British-born writer Aatish Ali Taseer risks losing his Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MEA) said the author's overseas citizen status has been revoked for concealing that his late father was of Pakistani origin in his PIO (Person of Indian Origin) application.
The MHA spokesperson also refuted claims that Taseer's critical article about Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Time Magazine had anything to do with the revocation of his OCI card. The clarification came after a report indicated that Taseer's OCI card was revoked over an article he wrote the Indian prime minister.
MHA went on to say that Taseer was given the opportunity to submit his reply or objection in the matter, but no such attempt was made by the author.
"Mr. Taseer was given the opportunity to submit his reply/objections regarding his PIO/OCI cards, but he failed to dispute the notice," the spokesperson said.
"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," the spokesperson added.
TASEER SLAMS MHA, SHASHI THAROOR BACKS HIM
Aatish Taseer, on the other hand, said he wrote to MHA and sought more time to respond on the matter as he was just given 24 hours to object and not the full 21 days as per rule.
The screenshot uploaded by the writer along with his tweet showed that Taseer's reply was acknowledged by Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty.
"This is untrue. Here is the Consul General's acknowledgement 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," the writer said on Twitter.
Kerala MP Shashi Tharoor also backed the writer and said it was painful to witness an official spokesperson of the government making false claims.
"It is painful to see an official spokesperson of our government making a false claim that is so easily disproved," Tharoor said.
He also highlighted a link to the report which claimed that Taseer's OCI card was being revoked after his critical piece on Time Magazine criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and calling him 'Divider-in-Chief'.
"Govt so weak that it feels threatened by a journalist?" Tharoor asked.
The MHA is yet to respond after Taseer responded on Twitter claiming that he, in fact, replied and appealed for more time to respond to the matter concerning his OCI card.
Earlier, a home ministry spokesperson said Taseer becomes ineligible to hold an OCI card as it is not issued to any person whose parents or grandparents are Pakistanis and that he hid this fact.
As per the Citizenship Act, if the registration as an OCI Cardholder was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact, the registration as OCI cardholder shall be cancelled. The person will also be blacklisted thereby banning his or her future entry into India.
The 38-year-old writer is the son of late Pakistani politician Salmaan Taseer and Indian journalist Tavleen Singh.