Spot the similarities

An authoritarian state boss abusing his power who isn’t Trump:

A British Indian author and journalist has been stripped of his Indian citizenship after he wrote an article criticising the regime of the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi.

Aatish Taseer, who was born in the UK but raised in India and spent a further decade living there from the age of 25, was stripped of his overseas citizenship of India (OCI) status on Thursday.

Taseer, who has written multiple books on India, described the government’s move as “highly suspicious and systematic”. He added: “They are making an example of me and sending a warning message to other journalists.”

Wouldn’t Trump love to do that.

The decision followed the publication of his cover piece for Time magazine in May, just before the Indian elections, titled India’s divider in chief, which was highly critical of Modi’s actions while in power.

“Within India, the Modi government has completely altered the media climate, everyone critical has been muffled or silenced,” said Taseer. “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.”

He may never be able to go back to India. His mother and grandmother are there, and he says he may never see them again.

The reason given by the home ministry for its action was that Taseer had “concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani origin” and was therefore ineligible for OCI status.

But Taseer denied this, saying his connection to Pakistan had never been hidden and had simply made him an “easy target”. He was not given official written notice that he had been stripped of his OCI status and instead found out via a public tweet from the ministry on Thursday.

Again: very Trump.

In September Taseer received a letter saying the government was taking action against him for allegedly defrauding the home ministry and his OCI status was under review.

It followed an alleged smear campaign against him in India led by Sambit Patra, the spokesperson for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party, and which was then picked up by Modi himself after the publication of the Time magazine article, where Taseer was repeatedly described as having an anti-India agenda due to his “Pakistani political family” background.

Are Modi and Trump twins?

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Taseer’s fate showed that Modi’s governing party was intolerant of criticism and freedom of the press. Under Modi, in power since 2014, India has fallen to 140th out of 180 in the World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

Pen America, which defends freedom of expression, said: “Harassing critical writers and journalists not just in India but globally is a disturbing new low for Modi’s government that’s already put Indian democracy on its heels.”

Fake News anyone?

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