Yesteryear singer-actress Salma Agha has applied for an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card.
Her request is being examined by the Home Ministry which may grant her an OCI card if she fulfils the eligibility criteria.
However, reports suggest the ministry is in dilemma because of her Pakistan origin as OCI rules make Pakistanis ineligible. However, Agha argues that she has Indian links too.
In her request letter, she is believed to have referred to her Indian roots in her maternal grandfather Jugal Kishore Mehra.
According to Agha, she’s not from Pakistan. “We’re Pathans from Amritsar settled in London where I grew up,” she said. Jugal Kishore Mehra got married to Anwari Begum a singing star in the ’30s and the ’40s. Salma’s mother Nasreen Aagha debuted opposite KL Saigal in Shahjahan (1946).
Recently, the home ministry gave Indian citizenship to Pakistani singer Adnan Sami. The ministry said the certificate of naturalization was granted under the Citizenship Act, 1955 after Sami satisfied the government that the conditions for grant of naturalisation were fulfilled in his case.
Salma Agha became a household name in India in 1982 with her super-hit film Nikaah. She also won Filmfare best female playback award in 1982 for her rendition “Dil Ke armaan aansuon me beh gaye” in the same movie.
The OCI card gives a person multiple entry, multi-purpose life-long visa to visit India and exemption from reporting to police authorities for any length of stay in the country.
The OCI card also gives parity to an individual with Non-Resident Indians in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
Salma plans to open a music school in Lucknow. Her daughter Sasha Agha made her debut in the Bollywood film Aurangzeb in 2013 and later acted in Desi Kattey (2014).