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January 1, 2016

A beautiful gift, a beautiful day, Jai Hind: Sami on Indian citizenship

NEW DELHI: Noted Bollywood singer Adnan Sami was granted the Indian citizenship on Friday, legalising his stay in the country, on humanitarian grounds. Of Pakistani origin, he has been facing opposition for performing in India. Adnan Sami has been living in India on a visa on his Pakistani passport since March, 2001. He is a Canadian citizen born in London.

“I am thankful to the government of India for this precious and beautiful gift and there can’t be a more beautiful day than January 1 (to get it),” Sami said. "A New Beginning... A New Feeling... A New Belonging... A New Love Affair... A New Country... JAI HIND!!! My Profound thanks to Honourable Prime Minister @narendramodi ji for approving my Indian Citizenship. A New birth!" the singer tweeted.

Union Home Ministry cleared his Indian citizenship application with effect from January 1. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju presented the certificate of naturalisation to Sami under the provision of the Indian Citizenship Act, 1975 earlier in the day. His citizenship was cleared on the ground of naturalisation due to distinguished services. Sami's Pakistani passport had expired on May 26, 2015 and he had become a stateless person living in India and was allowed to stay here indefinitely.

"Adnan Sami has regularly worked for last 15 years and we haven't found any controversy after going through his records. He has always respected India. We have seen his background including his tweets, and we can say that he has utmost regards for the country," Rijiju said.

The Shiv Sena has opposed the grant of citizenship to Sami. Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said, “When BJP was in opposition, it protested against Adnan Sami, now they are granting him citizenship.” Kayande told PTI in Mumbai, “I am just saying we are surprised at the turn of events. BJP vehemently opposed Sami while in opposition. But once in power, he gets citizenship.”

Sami is a singer, musician, pianist, actor and composer based in Mumbai. He is also well-versed in Western music, jazz, rock and pop. The songs ‘Kabhi toh nazar milao’ and’ lift kara de’ had earned Sami wide fame in India. He had also sung for Bollywood's Bajrangi Bhaijan. He plays a variety of musical instruments too.

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