New Delhi, Nov 8: A big row has been triggered off over the Central Government's decision to revoke the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card of New York-based writer and columnist Aatish Ali Taseer.
While Congress leaders and a section of activists have flayed the government move, BJP spokesman Nalin Kohli on Friday said the NDA regime has only followed the rules and procedures on the matter.
".....There are reports coming that those (rules) are not complied with it by the person than obviously the government is entitled to withdraw it," Mr Kohli told a television channel.
"I don't think anything else should be seen in this beyond that," he said in reference to criticism that the Modi government has taken the decision only because Mr Taseer has written articles in foreign newspapers and journals critical of the BJP-led dispensation. Son of columnist columnist Tavleen Singh, Aatish Taseer is said to have concealed from authorities that his father was a Pakistani.
Taseer's father Salman Taseer, a Pakistani politician and a Governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, was shot dead in 2011.
"Mr Aatish Ali Taseer, while submitting his PIO application, concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani origin....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," spokesperson of the Union Home Ministry said in a series of tweets on Thursday night.
The Home Ministry spokesperson also said, "Mr Taseer was given the opportunity to submit his reply pr objections regarding his PIO or OCI cards, but he failed to dispute the notice".
The officials say - to apply for and use an OCI document, a holder must be a citizen of and hold a passport of another country, except that of Pakistan and Bangladesh.
An OCI card allows a foreign citizen of Indian origin to live and work in India for an indefinite duration of time.
No person who or either of whose parents or grandparents or great grandparents is or had been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, is eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India.
Congress leader and former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat has said the government decision was taken only because Aatish Ali Taseer had attacked the Modi government.
Another Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has tweeted to say, "Is our Government so weak that it feels threatened by a journalist?" (UNI)