Kannada actor Chetan Ahimsa’s Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card has been revoked by the Indian government, just days after his arrest over anti-hindutva remarks. Ahimsa, known for his activism on social issues, was taken into custody by the Bengaluru police for his comments during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in 2019.
Ahimsa’s OCI card, which grants him visa-free travel and other privileges, was cancelled under provisions of the Citizenship Act, which prohibits OCI cardholders from participating in any activity that goes against the “sovereignty and integrity of India”. The revocation of Ahimsa’s OCI card has sparked controversy, with many critics calling it an attack on freedom of speech and dissent.
Ahimsa has been a vocal critic of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government and its Hindutva ideology. In a statement released after his arrest, Ahimsa maintained that he was exercising his democratic right to protest against the CAA and that his comments were not anti-national.
The revocation of Ahimsa’s OCI card has drawn criticism from opposition parties and civil society groups, who have accused the government of targeting activists and dissenters. The move has also raised concerns about the erosion of democratic values in India.
The incident comes at a time when the BJP government has been facing criticism for its crackdown on dissent and free speech. Several high-profile activists, journalists, and scholars have been arrested or faced legal action for their criticism of the government and its policies.
Ahimsa’s case has also brought attention to the issue of OCI cardholders and their rights. While the card provides several benefits, it is subject to restrictions that have been criticized as arbitrary and inconsistent.