Rushdie, Atwood, Pamuk Among 260 Writers Urging Modi to Review Aatish Taseer's OCI Order

The PEN America letter recognises that Taseer was 'targeted for an extremely personal form of retaliation' by the Indian government.

New Delhi: More than 260 renowned foreign and Indian authors have signed a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to revoke journalist and writer Aatish Taseer’s Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card status.

The signatories of the letter include Chimamanda Adichie, Salman Rushdie, Christiane Amanpour, Margaret Atwood, Anita Desai, Jeffrey Eugenides, Mia Farrow, Gloria Steinem, Jhumpa Lahiri and Ian McEwan.

Among these writers are Turkish Nobel winner Orhan Pamuk, who was himself forced to flee his country after criticising its mass killing of Armenians and Kurds.

“We are extremely concerned that Taseer appears to have been targeted for an extremely personal form of retaliation due to his writing and reporting that has been critical of the Indian government,” said the open letter released by PEN America.

Also read: Modi Govt Revokes Aatish Taseer’s OCI Card For ‘Concealing His Father Was Pakistani’

They said that the spirit of the OCI regulations, which was to provide “status and connection” to their roots and family to citizens of other countries with Indian heritage, should be “upheld”.

Further, the signatories said that there should not be any discrimination against single mothers.

Last week, the home ministry, through a series of tweets, informed that Taseer had become ineligible to hold OCI card as per the 1955 Citizenship Act, as he had “concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani origin”.

Taseer’s mother and sole legal parent is Indian journalist Tavleen Singh. He was brought up in India and met his father, Pakistani politician Salman Taseer, when he was an adult. Taseer’s meeting with his father and his encounter with Pakistan has been the subject of a book and several essays.

Taseer has denied that he hid his paternity in the application form. He has also denied Indian government’s claim that he did not respond to the notice from the home ministry.