Akshay Kumar clarifies the status about his citizenship and Indian passport: “Having a Canadian passport does not mean I am not less of an Indian”

Instrumental citizenship. “Not less of an Indian” but his phrasing suggests he considers himself less of a Canadian:

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, who holds a Canadian passport and often gets trolled on social media for the same, recently clarified the status about his citizenship.

At the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2019, the actor addressed the trolling and shared an update on his Indian citizenship and said, “Having a Canadian passport does not mean I am not less of an Indian. I am very much Indian. I have been here since last nine years when I got the passport. And I don’t want to get into the reason of why, what happened, my films were not working, blah blah blah, chalo woh theek hai.”

“Yes, I had said it in 2019, I applied for it,” he added. “Then the pandemic happened and everything shut down for 2-2.5 years. My renounce letter is here and very soon my whole passport will be coming.” When said that he does intend to do it anyway, he said, “What do I do. I didn’t bring the pandemic.” Previously at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2019, Akshay had shared that he is in the process of applying for an Indian passport.

The same year, Akshay also took to Twitter addressing the online fuss about his Canadian citizenship. “I really don’t understand the unwarranted interest and negativity about my citizenship,” he tweeted at the time. “I have never hidden or denied that I hold a Canadian passport. It is also equally true that I have not visited Canada in the last seven years.”

“I work in India, and pay all my taxes in India,” he further wrote. While all these years, I have never needed to prove my love for India to anyone, I find it disappointing that my citizenship issue is constantly dragged into needless controversy, a matter that is personal, legal, non-political, and of no consequence to others. I would like to continue contributing in my small way to the causes that I believe in and make India stronger and stronger.”

Akshay Kumar On Canadian Citizenship: Got It When I felt My Career Was Over; Have Applied For Indian Passport

Great example of instrumental citizenship and how it can be discarded when convenient:

One of the most popular stars in Bollywood today is Akshay Kumar. The Khiladi of Bollywood has managed to make a name for himself over the years and has become one of the most bankable superstars. However, time and again, Akshay becomes a target online due to his Canadian citizenship. While the star has always kept mum on the issue, at a recent event, the Good Newwz actor was prodded about it and he shared at length the story behind his Canadian citizenship.

Akshay mentioned that there was a point in his life where he had back to back 14 flops in Bollywood. The Khiladi remembered those days and mentioned that he has thought his career was over and that he wouldn’t get work in the country anymore. Akshay then went onto mention that at that time, his friend from Canada asked him to come there to work with him. The Good Newwz actor stated that it was at that time he applied for his citizenship. Later, Akshay said that his 15th film worked and he never thought about getting his passport changed.

Akshay opened up at great length about his Canadian citizenship and mentioned that it hurts him when he has to prove his love for his country. Akshay said, “I have now applied for the passport. I don’t want to give anyone the chance to question me on it. I am an Indian and it hurts me that I am asked to prove that every time. My wife, my children are Indian. I pay my taxes here and my life is here.” About the process of getting Canadian citizenship, Akshay said, “I started the process to get a Canadian passport because I felt my career was finished and I won’t get more work here. But my 15th film worked and I never looked back. I never thought of changing my passport.”

Meanwhile, the actor is busy with the promotions of his upcoming film, Good Newwz starring Kareena Kapoor Khan, Diljit Dosanjh and Kiara Advani. At the event, Kareena accompanied Akshay and the two stunned in matching black attire. Akshay and Kareena also took the stage and performed on the song, Sauda Khara Khara from Good Newwz. Directed by Raj Mehta, Good Newwz is being produced by Karan Johar. The film is slated to release on December 27, 2019.

Source: Akshay Kumar On Canadian Citizenship: Got It When I felt My Career Was Over; Have Applied For Indian Passport

Bollywood actor who campaigned for Stephen Harper was granted Canadian citizenship by Conservative government

Undermines some of the language used to describe citizenship:

But I can tell you – as someone who attends quite a few more Citizenship Ceremonies than do most people – I have never met a single newcomer to Canada who fails to appreciate how precious and how meaningful it is to be a citizen of this free, democratic and diverse country.

Courageous, dedicated, and hard-working people come from all over the world to Canada. They make enormous personal and family sacrifices to obtain citizenship and to earn the opportunity to contribute to our society and our economy. (Jason Kenney on citizenship residence fraud issues, 9 December 2011)

It would be of interest to do a study of individuals who have been granted this “fast-track” citizenship, without meeting the basic requirements (I am aware it has been awarded to Olympians given their training schedules make it difficult to meet the residency requirements). Unlikely, however, that IRCC could provide the data, given privacy concerns.

Doesn’t pass the smell test:

In the thick of the 2011 federal election, Stephen Harper appeared in the Indo-Canadian heartland of Ontario with a ringer.

At a campaign stop in Brampton, Bollywood mega-star Akshay Kumar praised the then prime minister, danced on stage with his wife, Laureen Harper, and thrilled the audience.

It’s unclear if Kumar’s stumping had any impact on voters, but a few weeks later the Conservatives swept every riding in Brampton and nearby Mississauga that has a large south Asian population.

And at some point, the Harper government invoked a little-known law to grant the actor Canadian citizenship, circumventing the usual, stringent residency requirements for would-be Canadians, says a former Conservative cabinet minister.

That Canadian passport recently caused a commotion in Kumar’s native India, where he has fashioned himself as an Indian patriot – and promoted nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the election that just ended.

But the way he became a Canadian raises questions about his participation in this country’s politics, too.

MP Tony Clement, who as industry minister met with Kumar in Mumbai, says the citizenship grant was just a thank you for the actor’s help in promoting Canadian tourism and trade to a huge emerging economy – not a reward for partisan support.

“Basically, he had offered to put that star power to use to advance Canada-India relations, our trade relations, our commercial relations, in the movie sector, in the tourism sector,” said Clement. “He earned it … He has a great attachment to Canada as well as India, so he was doing all this free work.”

But at least one critic of the citizenship system said Tuesday he is appalled by the gesture, especially since countless people with far deeper roots in Canada have struggled for years to gain citizenship.

“This is so unjust,” said Don Chapman, a U.S.-based airline pilot who has made “lost Canadians” a life-long cause, even authoring a book on the topic. “Why was Harper denying us and accepting him? … I think it was, pure and simple, ‘You campaign for me, I’ll get you in’.”

Representatives for Harper and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who was federal immigration minister at the time, did not respond to requests for comment.

Kumar first attracted controversy last month when he conducted a lengthy, televised interview with Modi that was criticized as little more than campaign propaganda.

“I think it was, pure and simple, ‘You campaign for me, I’ll get you in’.”

Then under pressure he admitted he had obtained Canadian citizenship several years ago, an act that would require him to relinquish his Indian nationality. Kumar said he hasn’t stepped foot in Canada for seven years and pays all his taxes in India.

Many members of the Indian elite obtain foreign passports, allowing them to travel the world more widely, says Chinnaiah Jangam, a Carleton University history professor.

In Canada, people born in other countries to non-Canadian parents typically have to first be accepted as permanent residents and live here for three of the previous five years before they can apply to be citizens.

But under section 5 of the Citizenship Act(4) , the minister can grant the privilege at his or her discretion in cases of statelessness or unusual hardship, or “to reward services of an exceptional value to Canada.”

Kumar did, in fact, provide such services to Canada, as an official ambassador of the Canadian Tourism Commission – now called Destination Canada – and in other roles that included carrying the Olympic flame through Toronto in 2009, said Clement.

“It became bedlam and mayhem as like 10,000 people showed up to watch him jog the flame into Toronto,” he recalled. “He’s been a great friend to Canada and certainly promoted Canada-India relations when we were in power.”

But Chapman said giving Kumar a passport was simply not fair. He said he’s worked with numerous people who have lived much, or all, of their lives in Canada and been repeatedly denied citizenship, often because of arcane aspects of the federal legislation. They include Second World War veterans classified as British citizens, and crooner Robert Goulet, whose parents were Canadian and who lived in this country from age 13 until his early 20s.

“I feel Canadian,” Goulet said in 2006. “I tried to become a citizen for a long time but the red tape is going to drive me nuts … It’s always the red tape.”

He died a year later aged 73 and, said Chapman, still had not obtained that passport.

Source: Bollywood actor who campaigned for Stephen Harper was granted citizenship by Conservative government

Actor’s Canadian citizenship leaves India’s ruling BJP red faced | Article

The irony:

The Hindi film actor Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia, popularly known as Akshay Kumar, and known for his proximity to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), confessed that he is no longer an Indian citizen.

His admission that he holds a Canadian passport comes soon after he conducted a “non-political” interview of prime minister Narendra Modi while general elections were underway. In the interview, questions like whether Modi likes mangoes and how he eats them drew a lot of mirth and derision from social media users.

Kumar is also known for projecting himself as a uber nationalist. One of his recent films, Toilet – Ek Prem Katha, was seen as a vehicle to promote a much-touted scheme of the BJP government.

His earlier films are seen as vehicles of a muscular government ready to take on enemies of the state through assassinations and kidnappings. His films like KesariRustom, Goldand Airlift, among others, focus on themes relating to nationalism.

Meanwhile the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has stoked nationalism while using the national security plank for its electoral campaign.

Kumar’s citizenship issue has become a big deal because BJP supporters frequently subject people from India’s religious minorities to “loyalty tests.” For instance, Muslims and other government critics are frequently asked to “go to Pakistan.” Kumar’s colleagues in Bollywood, Amir Khan and Naseeruddin Shah, had to face such questions when they stated that they were not feeling safe under the current government. Kumar had snubbed Khan for his comments.

As social media users raised questions over the citizenship of Bollywood’s poster boy for nationalism, the situation got worse as Mumbai went to the polls when Kumar’s wife, Twinkle Khanna, turned up at the polling booth on April 29 but he was not seen voting.

Moreover, the actor chose to ignore and walk away when he was questioned by journalists about not voting in the Lok Sabha elections in Mumbai, the capital of western Indian state Maharashtra. Kumar responded to the question with “Chaliye, chaliye (let’s go, let’s go)” as he walked away. Later, he would state that he is a Canadian citizen. Trolls had a field day on social media.

It was out and out ironical as the actor was recently tagged by PM Modi in a tweet urging him to encourage people to vote. Kumar did so. He tweeted saying: “The true hallmark of a democracy lies in people’s participation in the electoral process. Voting has to be a superhit . . . between our nation and its voters.”

The row over his already controversial citizenship issue started after his recent interview with PM Modi. The prime minister, known for rarely giving interviews to journalists, spoke to the actor in an interview described as “informal and non-political.”

Kumar issued a statement on May 3 on Twitter acknowledging his Canadian citizenship while underlining his Indian patriotism: “I really don’t understand the unwarranted interest and negativity about my citizenship. I have never hidden or denied that I hold a Canadian passport. It is also equally true that I have not visited Canada in the last seven years. I work in India, and pay all my taxes in India. While all these years, I have never needed to prove my love for India to anyone, I find it disappointing that my citizenship issue is constantly dragged into needless controversy, a matter that is personal, legal, non-political, and of no consequence to others.”

Kumar proudly declared that he pays his taxes in India. In fact that is not something he does by choice. It is mandated by law.

India has a residency-based taxation system, not a citizenship-based one. Indian citizens who are persons of Indian origin (PIO), overseas citizens of India (OCI) or foreign citizens and who are residents of India for more than 182 days have to pay tax and file income tax return in India. Furthermore, when someone is a resident in India for income tax purposes, income earned anywhere in the world is taxable in India.

Kumar, who had been at the top position for several years among the highest taxpayers in Bollywood, had paid Rs. 295 million in 2017.

Bhatia’s citizenship controversy is not new. In 2017, in an interview with Times Now, Kumar claimed he was an “honorary citizen” of Canada: “About the Canadian thing. I am an honorary citizen. I have been given an honorary thing. It is a thing that people should be proud of. I have an honorary doctorate as well.”

However, according to a fact-check done by Alt News, The website of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lists the people who have been given honorary Canadian citizenship and it names six individuals including Pakistani Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafsai. Kumar’s name does not appear in the list. The report also says that an honorary citizen cannot hold a Canadian passport, as Kumar does.

After Kumar’s statement, actor Anupam Kher came out in his support on Twitter. Kher is known as a vocal supporter of the BJP and his wife, also an actor, Kirron Kher is a BJP lawmaker.

Source: Actor’s Canadian citizenship leaves India’s ruling BJP red faced | Article