NEW DELHI: Salma Agha, a British national of Pakistani origin who acted and sang in Bollywood movies in the 80s and 90s, wants to become an overseas citizen of India (OCI) on the basis of her pre-partition Indian roots.
Her application has put the Union home ministry in a fix as the OCI status is explicitly prohibited for Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals.
Agha’s application comes soon after Pakistani singer Adnan Sami acquired Indian citizenship. “She has made a formal application in this regard. She claims that despite being born in Pakistan she was never a citizen of that country. We are looking into her application,” said a senior home ministry official requesting anonymity.
The official said Agha has claimed that her grandfather was an Indian national and she is a British national, which makes her eligible for OCI status.
Citizens of other countries can apply for OCI status if they were a citizen or were eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of commencement of the Constitution or thereafter. Their children or grandchildren can also apply under the scheme. Besides any person who belonged to a territory that became part of India after the 15th August, 1947, now a citizen of another country can also get OCI status.
OCIs get a life-long multiple entry, multi-purpose visa to visit India. They are also exempted from reporting to the police for any length of stay here. They also get parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational matters except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
Agha hit stardom after acting and singing in her debutmovie, BR Chopra-directed Nikah in 1982. Her mother and grandmother – both acted in Bollywood movies.