Literary stars call on Modi to restore critic Aatish Taseer’s citizenship – World

Margaret Atwood, Orhan Pamuk and J.M. Coetzee, winners of the main prize, led more than 250 literary luminaries and journalists who asked the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, to revoke an order to dispossess the writer Aatish Taseer of his "foreign citizenship."

The prominent Indian writer Amitav Ghosh also signed the letter that said Taseer "seems to have been targeted in an extremely personal form of reprisal" for his criticism of the Indian government.

Taseer, 38, born in Britain but raised in India, lost his foreign citizenship in India last week. The Interior Ministry announced on Twitter that the journalist had "hidden" the fact that his father was a Pakistani.

However, critics called the measure a response to a cover story of Taseer in Modi in Time magazine during the Indian election entitled "Chief Divider of India."

"Denying access to the country to writers of foreign and Indian origin enrages public discourse," said the letter, published by the PEN America freedom of expression platform.

"It goes against Indian traditions of free and open debate and respect for a diversity of views, and weakens their credentials as a strong and prosperous democracy."

Taseer was raised in India by his mother, Tavleen Singh, Indian columnist and journalist. His father, Salman Taseer, was governor of the Punjab province of Pakistan until he was killed in 2011.

The letter said that the decision of the Indian government was discrimination against single mothers.

Taseer said he learned about the decision on Twitter. He later wrote: "It was not difficult to feel, given the moment, that I was being punished for what I had written." Time has also condemned the measure.

"Journalists like Aatish Taseer should be able to do their job without harassment or retaliation," a spokesman said. AFP.

The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) said that Taseer's fate showed that Modi's conservative ruling party is "intolerant of criticism and press freedom."



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