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All you need to know about Aatish Taseer OCI controversy: vendetta or no vendetta, he was never eligible for an OCI card

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Summary

It is not clear to say whether the Government's notice to revoke Mr. Taseer's OCI card, was the result of his critical behavior towards the NDA government, but it clear that as per OCI's guidelines Aatish Taseer was not eligible to hold OCI status.

The ministry of home affairs had stripped off famous author and journalist, Aatish Taseer's OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) card, which led a major controversy. The center was accused of announcing the annulment of Mr. Taseer's OCI card, due to his critical behavior towards the NDA government, especially after one of his to Time Magazine titled ‘Divider in Chief', targetting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the government has denied the allegations. 

Aatish Taseer is the son of assassinated Pakistani governor Salmaan Taseer and Indian journalist Tavleen Singh. He has British citizenship but was born in India. He grew up in Delhi and studied at the Kodaikanal International school in Tamil Nadu, now lives in New York. He was granted PIO (People of Indian Origin) card in 2000, and in 2016 he received OCI card. In a dramatic move,  MHA made an announcement to revoke Mr. Aatish's OCI card claiming that he attempted to “conceal information” that his father, Salman Taseer, was of Pakistani origin.

An OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) Card grants working rights along with most other rights of an Indian citizen (except voting and buying agricultural land) has lifetime validity. The Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card was introduced in 2000 and later on, was merged with the Overseas Card Scheme.

Social media is filled with different opinions about the OCI controversy. To understand the complete issue lets look at both sides of the story. 

The Government's claim

On 13th August, the ministry of home affairs writes a notice to Mr. Taseer in September, allowing him three weeks' time to reply. According to an article published in The Hindu, the notice said, " Mr. Aatish Taseer had failed to disclose that his father, the former Governor of Pakistan’s Punjab was of Pakistani origin, and had only provided details of his mother, veteran Indian journalist Tavleen Singh."

According to another article by The Hindu, the ministry in its notice, "accused him of “concealment of material facts” and “false representation” when he applied for his original Person of Indian Origin (PIO) status in 2000, by not revealing that his biological father, former Governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province Salman Taseer, had British and Pakistani citizenship."

The government notice was based on the OCI guidelines, that clearly mention anyone with any heritage from countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, are not eligible for OCI. Details about OCI guidelines have also been mention in one of Facthunt's previous articles

As soon as the MHA move came into the public's eye, the government was accused of the striping of the OCI status because of his Time's article. In its clarification, the MHA put a number of tweets saying, that the government's decision to revoke Mr. Taseer OCI status has nothing to do with his article in Times Magazine. 

 

Aatish Taseer's claim 

According to Mr.Taseer, he received the notice on the 20th day. He was not given full 21 days, but 24 hours to reply. In his reply on September 6 to the August 13 notice, and a subsequent notice dated September 3, he had put forward the explanation that his parents had never been legally married, and his mother was his sole legal guardian.

In an interview with The Hindu, he said, "My parents were never married, and their relationship lasted just about until I was born, which was why his name was even on my birth certificate."

He further added, "India is my reality. It’s what I write about. And I definitely feel targeted personally.”

On the other hand, MHA said Aatish Taseer failed to dispute its notices on Aug 13 & Sept 3, following which "he 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."

Using the father's surname

Aatish Taseer has been using his father's surname which raises an important question that why did he hide his father's information in his OCI application. The question is still unanswered.

Conclusion

It is not clear to say whether the Government's notice to revoke Mr. Taseer's OCI card, was the result of his critical behavior towards the NDA government, but it clear that as per OCI's guidelines Aatish Taseer was not eligible to hold OCI status.

Note: You can reach out to us at support[at]facthunt.co.in if you find any issue with our articles.

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