Pakistani origin singer Salma Agha gets lifetime Indian visa

Yesteryear singer-actress Salma Agha, a Pakistan origin British national has applied for an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card and now she has been granted OCI. She put up the application after Pakistani-origin singer Adnan Sami was granted Indian citizenship in January this year.

The card will allow her multiple entries, multi-purpose life-long visa to visit India and exemption from reporting to police.

"We have decided to grant Salma Agha the OCI card after following the due procedure," a senior Home Ministry official said today.

After Salma Agna was granted the IOC card, she met Home Minister Rajnath Singh, apparently to express her gratitude for the gesture.

Agha, who won Filmfare best female playback award in 1982 for her rendition 'Dil Ke armaan aansuon me beh gaye' in ‘Nikaah’ said that she receives a lot of love and adulation from India.

“There is nothing new in this (visa being given). Modi ji’s government has helped me so much. We are grateful. I could have taken citizenship anytime. I belong to India. I am an Indian. My forefathers are from Amritsar,” she said after the meeting.

Salma thanked Modi government and also landed PM’s ‘Beti Bacho, Beti Parao campaign.

However, Salma has argued she has Indian links that make her eligible. In her application, Salma is understood to have referred to her Indian roots in her maternal grandfather Jugal Kishore Mehra, a noted actor, and his wife and Salma’s grandmother, Anwari Begum, a star singer in the 1930s and ‘40s. Salma’s mother Nasreen Aagha was also an actress and was cast opposite K L Saigal in ‘Shahjehan’ (1946). In her request, Salma has claimed that though she was born in Pakistan, she is a British citizen and hence, her request should be looked into.

“She has made a formal application in this regard. She claims that despite being born in Pakistan she was never a citizen of that country. We are looking into her application,” a senior home ministry official was quoted as saying.

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).