India has reportedly removed the citizenship of a journalist who has been critical of the country’s leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Reporter Aatish Taseer, who was born in the U.K. but grew up in India, lost his overseas Indian citizenship Thursday, The Guardian reported.
He told The Guardian that the move was “highly suspicious and systematic.”
They are making an example of me and sending a warning message to other journalists,” he said.
In May, Taseer wrote an article for Time titled “India’s Divider in Chief” that was critical of Modi.
“Within India, the Modi government has completely altered the media climate, everyone critical has been muffled or silenced,” Taseer told the Guardian. “And now my case shows that even those who think they are protected because they write abroad or for a foreign publisher, they are not going to be safe either.”
The newspaper reported that he may never be permitted to return to India.
“My work is so immersed in Indian life so there is a real pain as a writer, not being able to ever be in contact with this material again,” he said. “And the other kind of pain is very personal. My mother who is 70 lives there. My grandmother who raised me lives there and she is 90 next year. Even if I take this to court, it is unlikely I will ever be able to see her again and for me that is the hardest part of all.”
The home ministry claimed that Taseer had “concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani origin” and was therefore not eligible for oversees citizenship. The journalist denied this, telling The Guardian he did not hide his connection to the country.
Mr. Aatish Ali Taseer, while submitting his PIO application, concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani origin.
— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) November 7, 2019