NCP spokesperson and Maharashtra Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik on Monday termed the Centre’s decision to confer famous singer Adnan Sami with the Padma Shri award as an “insult” to the people of India. He contended that the move was a “damage control exercise” to prove that the government does not discriminate against Pakistani Muslims in wake of the massive protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Furthermore, he alleged that any citizen of Pakistan who praised the Narendra Modi government could get Indian citizenship.
Nawab Malik opined, “It is a clear-cut case that if anybody from Pakistan chants ‘Jai Modi’, he will get citizenship of the country as well as he can get the Padma Shri award. Due to CAA, a lot of people are agitating against the government. In the world, people are saying what is happening in this country. Giving the award to Adnan Sami is a damage control exercise. The government wants to prove that we are giving citizenship to Pakistani citizens and we are awarding Padma Shri. It is an insult to the people of the country. Are original Indians not competent?”
The Lahore-born Sami originally arrived in India on March 13, 2001, on a visitor’s visa. Thereafter, his visa was extended from time to time. However, he was forced to apply for citizenship after the Pakistan government did not renew his passport that had expired on May 26, 2015. Sami became an Indian citizen from January 1, 2016, under the ‘citizenship by naturalisation’ category of the Citizenship Act, 1955. He featured in this year’s Padma Awards list leading to vehement criticism from opposition parties such as Congress.
Despite the opposition of NCP and Congress, their ally Shiv Sena backed the Centre on bestowing the Padma Shri award on famous singer Adnan Sami. Speaking to the media, Shiv Sena Lok Sabha MP Gajanan Kirtikar stated that the Padma Awards process entailed a thorough inquiry on all the prospective names. He opined that there was no scope for arbitrariness in the process. Furthermore, Kirtikar contended that there was no need to object to Sami being granted the Padma Shri.
Gajanan Kirtikar remarked, “During the process for the Padma awards, there is a thorough nationwide inquiry. The recommendation from the state which he hails from, the recommendation from the organization which he is a part of, is required. Moreover, there is a proper inquiry. A decision is taken only after an inquiry. There is no arbitrariness in such a decision. Whatever (award) is given, it is right. There is no need to raise an objection to the decision.”