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‘Hard Not to Feel I’m Being Punished For What I Had Written’: Aatish Taseer After OCI Status Revoked

New Delhi: After his Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card was revoked, writer Aatish Taseer in a TIME magazine article titled ‘I am Indian. Why is the Government Sending Me into Exile’ has revealed that he found out about the decision on Twitter.

The son of Pakistani politician Salmaan Taseer and journalist Tavleen Singh, the 38-year-old writer has been accused by the Home Ministry of concealing his father’s nationality.

“I had 21 days to respond and to contest their claims; it was day 20 when I had received the letter,” Taseer writes in the article stating that he had immediately emailed his response and had also sent a hard copy to the Home Ministry.

Following this, Taseer first found out that his OCI status was under review from The Print’s report. In the TIME magazine article, he inevitably links the decision to the earlier cover article he had written, which had been critical of Prime Minister Modi.

“While the government did not initially reveal their motivations behind this action, they have now stated their reasons for removing my OCI: “concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani origin.” But it is hard not to feel, given the timing, that I was being punished for what I had written,” the TIME article reads.

He further lamented that he might never be able to obtain even a standard tourist visa for India, according to what he was told by the Consul General in New York.

In a heart-wrenching line, Aatish Taseer describes his relationship with India as something that is “so instinctive…like an unwritten constitution”.

“Even though the marriage had taken me to the US, I have returned to India frequently to write about it and to visit with the only family I have ever known. But to say as much was already to express a degree of removal that felt false. It was like making a case for why one’s name was one’s name. I was Indian because I just was. It was fundamental and a priori. It came before one’s reasons for why it was so,” he writes.

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