India Revokes Aatish Taseer’s Citizenship, British Author Calls Loss ‘Sinister’

The Indian government has revoked the citizenship of Aatish Taseer, a New York-based journalist and the son of the late Salman Taseer and Indian journalist Tavleen Singh.

British author and columnist Aatish Taseer has said the cancellation of his Indian overseas citizenship was part of a “sinister plan”.

According to a tweet, Taseer had failed to answer the ministry’s questions about his Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards.

“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,” tweeted the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Taseer, on the other hand, disputed the claims by the Indian Home Ministry, tweeting that he had responded to their notice.

Taseer said he had been holding Indian citizenship documents – Person of Indian Origin which later merged into Overseas Citizenship of India – since 2000.

He said he had lived in India between the ages of two and 10, and then 26 to 35 years. He says he has local bank accounts, a biometric identification number and paid taxes in the country.

“My father’s name is on the citizenship document. I had no access to papers proving he is my father because we had no contact and my mother was not living with him,” he said.

“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 tweeted.

The decision comes months after Taseer wrote a piece for Time magazine, which was heavily critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Committee to protect journalists released a statement saying the decision showed that India’s ruling party is “intolerant of criticism and freedom of the press”

India’s home ministry says he tried to “conceal information that his father was of Pakistani origin”.

Salman Taseer was the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab Province.

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