The Overseas Citizenship of India status of Kannada actor Chetan Kumar was on Friday cancelled by the Ministry of Home Affairs, The News Minute reported.
Kumar, a US citizen, was granted Overseas Citizenship of India card in 2018. The actor has been critical of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and has been arrested twice for his tweets on Hindutva and the judiciary.
Overseas Citizenship of India is an immigration status that allows foreigners of Indian origin to live and work in India indefinitely.
“I have received a letter asking me to submit my OCI card at the Foreigners Regional Registration Office in the next 15 days,” Kumar said on Saturday, according to The Hindu. He added that he was exploring legal options and would challenge the order in the Karnataka High Court.
On March 21, Kumar was arrested by the Bengaluru Police for a tweet criticising Hindutva.
In his post, Kumar claimed that Hindutva was based on lies such as the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya being the birthplace of the Hindu deity Rama and that 18th-century ruler Tipu Sultan was killed by Vokkaliga community leaders Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda.
In February last year, the actor was arrested for a tweet on Justice Krishna Dixit who was part of the Karnataka High Court bench hearing a batch of pleas against the hijab ban. Dixit had questioned the behaviour of a woman who alleged that she was raped and granted bail to the accused person in the case, Kumar pointed out.
In June, Kumar was issued a show cause notice by the Foreigners Regional Registration Office for his remark about judges and other “anti-national activities”, according to The News Minute.
In his reply, Kumar said that he has lived in India for many years and has been involved in social work and making films.
On Friday, the Union home ministry said that Kumar’s response to its notice was unsatisfactory.
Kumar told The News Minute that the action against him was taken to create an atmosphere of fear and to give a warning to anyone who questions the government.
“This seems to be an act of the Union government, with support from state-level lobbies, to silence activists and create an atmosphere of fear in the country,” the actor alleged.
This is not the first time that the Overseas Citizen of India status of a person critical of the government has been cancelled.
The government, however, had claimed that the action was initiated was because Taseer in his application “concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani origin”.