Taseer, who famously wrote the cover story for Time magazine at the peak of the Indian elections in May this year calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi 'India's divider-in-chief, ' was stripped of his OCI status by the ministry of home affairs on Thursday.
Aatish, who grew up in Delhi and studied at the Kodaikanal International school in Tamil Nadu, now lives in NY, and had received a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card in 2000, a facility that provides visa-free travel to India. While he is born in London and raised in India, he mainly lived in Britain - holding a British passport.
According to a tweet by the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs of India, Taseer had failed to answer the ministry's questions about his Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards. He later converted it to an OCI card. Children or descendants of those who are or were citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh are not allowed to hold OCI status. Salman Taseer served as the governor of Punjab from 2008 until his assassination in 2011. It further stated, "Mr Taseer was given the opportunity to submit his reply/objections regarding his PIO/OCI cards, but he failed to dispute the notice".
Modi weighed in days after the article was published in May. He put out a part of his email exchange with the Indian consul general in NY on social media.
"This is untrue. Here is the Consul General's acknowledgement of my reply". Thus, Mr. Aatish Ali Taseer becomes ineligible to hold an OCI card, as per the Citizenship Act, 1955.
Writing for Time magazine in May, Taseer had wondered if India could endure another five years of the Modi government. "If you are not with Modi, then you are strengthening anti-India forces".
When asked about the criticism of Modi in the TIME magazine piece, Kohli said: "That is extraneous to the fact that if he was not eligible for the application why did he in the first place make the application with not disclosing the full facts". He added that the government's decision amounts to sending him into "exile" and he now fears that he may never be let into India. "I was living in India at the time, and at no time was my legal status ever questioned or challenged by the government", he wrote Thursday.
In his recent article titled as "I am Indian".
The writer argued he did not hide his connection to his father Salman Taseer from the public and that their parents' relationship figured in his first book, Stranger To History, published in 2009. "My grandmother is 90 years old and lives in India and I may never see her again", Taseer told the BBC.
His mother too has suggested that the move could be linked to his views. When Aatish had come under attack after the Time article and was called a "Pakistani citizen", his mother had said he was not a Pakistani. But I condemn Home Ministry revoking her son Aatish Taseer's OCI. "I've heard nothing from the ministry since", he said on Twitter.
Not only did he immediately take to Twitter to refute the MHA's claim that he had hidden this widely known information, through his writings across the years Taseer has done very little to hide the fact that his father is Pakistani. It was, however, only to be expected. All critical voices are either snooped on, harassed or muzzled.