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Govt considers revoking author Aatish Taseer’s OCI card after his Time article slammed Modi

Aatish Taseer has been under attack from BJP leaders since his May ‘Time’ magazine article calling PM Narendra Modi India’s ‘Divider-in-Chief’.

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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has served a notice to author and journalist Aatish Taseer and is considering revoking his Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, ThePrint has learnt.

New York-based Taseer has been in the crosshairs of the Modi government since he wrote an article in Time magazine which called PM Modi ‘Divider-in-Chief’ and criticised his first term as prime minister. The article was the cover story of Time’s international editions dated 20 May 2019.

As a result, sources said, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is deliberating over whether to revoke his OCI status over some technical issues. While Taseer has been served a notice, the two sides are in discussions to resolve the matter, they said.

OCI card-holders are entitled to a multi-purpose, multiple-entry, life-long visa that allows them to visit India at any time, for any length of time and for any purpose. They are exempt from police reporting for any length of stay in the country. They also have all the rights that Non-Resident Indians have in the economic, financial and education fields, as well as the right to acquire agricultural or plantation properties.

Taseer’s mother and senior journalist Tavleen Singh is Indian while his father Salman Taseer was Pakistani. Salman Taseer was a Pakistani businessman and liberal politician who was assassinated in 2011. His mother was British and he had a British passport too as Pakistan allows its citizens to have dual citizenship.

Aatish Taseer was born in London and raised in India and has lived mostly in Britain and India. The Modi government, sources said, is raising fresh questions on Salman Taseer’s nationality in connection with Aatish’s OCI status.

The cover of the controversial TIME magazine | ThePrint
The cover of the controversial TIME magazine | ThePrint

Salman Taseer, who was born in Shimla before Partition, was the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province when he was gunned down in Islamabad by his own security guard for his vocal opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. He was regarded as a stalwart in the Pakistan People’s Party and considered to be close to former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

Aatish Taseer is an acclaimed writer and author and his books include Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey Through Islamic Lands (2007), The Temple-goers (2010) and The Twice-Born: Life and Death on the Ganges (2018).

ThePrint emailed Taseer seeking his comment but he is yet to respond.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, in a media briefing Thursday, that he was not aware of this specific case. However, he said, if an individual is “no longer eligible and if it fits into a certain criterion of that cancellation of an OCI card then the OCI card will be cancelled”.

Kumar added that there are certain conditions to be fulfilled and certain documents that have to be submitted. “If you have submitted those documents, then you are eligible for an OCI card.”


Also read: What message does it send when international media calls PM Modi “divider in chief”?

Under fire from BJP members & supporters

Since the Time article was published, Taseer has come under attack from members of the BJP as well as the party’s supporters.

On Wednesday, Tavleen Singh defended her son on Twitter when his war of words with a BJP supporter turned personal.

“Didn’t want to get into this but you forced me to. There is no camel urine or cow urine easily available in DELHI. This is where Aatish grew up. As for the ‘young lady’ she is middle aged and as viscous (sic) as trolls come on Twitter,” Singh wrote.

Vijay Chauthaiwale, head of the BJP’s foreign affairs department, responded to Singh’s tweet, saying: “Mother is always protective about her son @AatishTaseer. I can understand inhibition of @tavleen_singh to admit that her son is nothing less than rabid Islamist.”

This is not the first time BJP members have targeted Taseer.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had called him a “Pakistani national” and said he was promoting that country’s propaganda.

Another BJP spokesperson, Shahnawaz Hussain, had also said the Time article was written by a “Pakistani national”, and that it doesn’t matter if he goes to America, he will still have anger against Modi bubbling inside him.

Several reports have appeared since to debunk Taseer’s “Pakistani” nationality, and reiterate that he was born in London and raised in India.

Taseer himself has gone on record to say he is not a Pakistani national, and called it “fake news”.

Days after the Time article appeared, a doctor-turned-politician named Ashwin Johar, a central committee member of the Overseas Friends of Bharatiya Janata Party, had started an online petition “to protest” against it.

Also read: Modi – what India missed in Time magazine’s 2019 list of 100 influential people

This report has been updated with a response from the Ministry of External Affairs.

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  1. The head of “The Print” is an NDA trained & baptized Shekhar Kapoor. He is of the same breeding like Rajdeep Sardesai, Ravish Kumar, Barkha Dutt, Nidhi Razdan and others. So what do you expect from them ?! praising a non-Leftleaning Government ??!! Never. Theses Left leaning Media Gigolos & Presstitutes will always be obstructive to India’s return to its original Santana cultural civilization for then their incomes from Ford Foundation, Pakistan, Soudi Arabia, Southeastern Baptist Church, Vetican City(Italy) and several similar other anti-India resources.

    • There was no India, only “Āryavarta” feudal regime.

      So I guess..

      South India must secede, after all.. Ohhh, wait..
      Now that would cause “breaking India” wailings, after all.. No?

  2. Aatish is full of poison against India, specially against Modi. His”Divider In Chief” article is not the only article of his showing his hatred.

    After all he has Paki blood in him. His father is a Paki which fact he hid in his application.

    Indian public is with Indian Govt in cancelling his OIC card. May be Pakistan will accept him.

    Most of the people in this article criticising India are probably ythe same people who collectively wrote against Modi.

    AAtish and these people tried hard to influence Indians, specially Muslims, to vote against Modi. But they failed badly. Mody received
    Muslims votes too.

    These liberals will be watching Modi and will jump on him if they see even an iota of opportunity to do so.

  3. BJP or otherwise, lying to obtain PIO status is totally wrong. That too by a person having a Pakistani father !!

  4. I feel sorry for Tavleen Singh whose columns though brilliant were often coloured by prejudices against a family which made her blindly support the most powerful duo who do not believe in making rule based decisions but mostly arbitrary decisions as if the entire country belonged to just the two of them.

  5. What did he finally say? English speaking. People??? 😂😂😂😂 ask him the sample size of his RESEARCH 😂😂😂😂

  6. I feel sorry for Tavleen Singh – What a third class regime she has been defending and promoting for years!
    I guess this is called KARMA

  7. If Taseer has the freedom to malian Modi and RSS under the pretext of freedom of speech, Indian government has the right to cancel his OCI. There is no difference between the utterings of Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan and Aatish Taseer. Both are fed same hatred about RSS and Hindus. Indian government should have revoked Taseer’s OCI by now. Taseer is part of anti India forces and doesn’t deserve any mercy from GOI.

    • no treaty with anybody will save you and other porkis,particularly those who had gotten such documents illegally hiding the fact that your fathers are from pakistan.

  8. 1. Comments from Vijay Chauthaiwale is shameful and a disgrace. You need not to be in agreement with Aatish views but no one has any right to comment on his mother.
    2. Sending notices to an author and considering revoking his OCI for an article shows that we are also going on the path of countries which are “One Man” driven. Any negative comments on NaMo is not unpatriotic and every such writer is not Anti India or Islamist. This shows that we are insecure nation. Everyone has a right to express his/her views freely, no matter you agree or not.

    • Pawan, hope you’re not a person with OCI! If yes, prepare for it getting revoked. If not, prepare for your Aadhar card/passport to be revoked. The government is working on the new citizenship bill.

  9. Is the Prime Minister so insecure that he wants to initiate action against anyone who is critical of him? With only 40% people voting for him, he will have to oust 60% of the citizens from India. Rather than wasting time on such frivolous activities, the government should pay attention to the many things that are crying to be fixed.

  10. When the Print carries a piece by Ms Sonali Ranade that is critical of the Editor, it enhances the credibility of the institution and the individual who heads it. It makes the portal stand out amidst an increasingly bleak, desolate media landscape. The same principle applies to nations and administrations. Had criticism, especially from abroad, been carefully evaluated and used as valuable feedback, things would have been so much better in all respects.

      • Ranbir, unfortunately you’re only confirming the prejudice that people have against the surname Singh.

        It’s too difficult for your pea-sized brain to appreciate what Ashok writes.

        • Rajiv, unfortunately you are only confirming the prejudice people from South have towards north indians. You can’t even write his name correctly! Please argue on the points Rajvir has made rather than going off on a tangent and dragging in needless topics.

          • That was not me but my Smartphone autocorrection.

            Pray tell me what are the points Rajvir has raised? Ashok is called an idiot. Ranade aericles are useless.

            You really want me to respond to that? C’mon.

    • I had initially thought that ThePrint is a fair and impartial media house. But when I started reading it daily, I realised that ThePrint is hiding it’s real agenda of anti Modism. Some of ThePrint’s journalists are openly working against Modi, others are supporting anti Modi agenda indirectly. Few of its regular writers are disguised as journalists but in reality they are political propagandists. Shekhar Gupta seems to have not learned any lesson.

        • @MA: ‘Course it is! Is that a rhetorical-question?

          Just like Nationalism/Patriotism.

          Don’t believe me..
          Shedding retroactivity: Just spare enough time to read and process tweets defending such anti-free society actions by the cultists. They literally equate “His” repute with Nationalism/Patriotism( nation’s pride). CF. “White man( reappropriation of a leftist narrative, what else?)’s criticism of “Him” in lieu of his peer Mr Hasan Minhaj caused the official-broadcasting platform to ban the episode, exactly like they’ve been doing since anything addressing “Hindutva” — fictional or otherwise, is blanket-wise banned[ since the “Murdochs” era, before very-recent transfer of ownership]. But when one of the following episodes directly-criticised that action, they perfectly allowed him.( The episodes were originally uploaded without subs, they later added that, as well — just like earlier episodes have subs since the time of upload given that they don’t make it available about 24 hours from the time of original linear-telecast in the global cycle.) Causing the earlier-protestors to then mock such a move by making “me-mes”( frankly, they were expecting that the episode containing no criticism of “Hindutva” but their own S-and-Ps would somehow be not tolerated by a Capitalist enterprise — talk about the “First World”-inherited ignorance) to which, a reply I highlight by paraphrased: your […] anti-national a business-house is not a country! Learn the difference, you Madrassa-chap […] comrades.( Emphasis mine.)

    • You’re preaching to a void!

      No, seriously.

      The cult of sElF-rEsPeCt( read ethnocentrism) means it’s steadily getting unsalvageable. If you don’t believe me, just read how Vedas contain the recipe of flying bedsteads!
      Overall: Either jump ship, or perform Yogas in a drowning vessel.

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