Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Citizenship controversy: Viswanathan Anand was forced to submit a copy of his Indian passport

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 24: World chess champion Viswanathan Anand was forced to submit a copy of his Indian passport to the Union HRD Ministry two months ago to prove that he is an Indian.
Anand's wife Aruna, who lives in Spain, had faxed the copy of the passport of the grand master after the Union HRD Ministry raised doubts about his Indian citizenship.
Aruna took the initiative and had sent a strongly worded letter to the ministry when things became clear that the chess whiz kid's file relating to the award of doctor of philosophy (honoris causa) by  the University of Hyderabad was kept in abeyance on grounds of his "citizenship".
The University of Hyderabad, which is also the local organiser of the international mathematical congress where it wanted to honour Anand along with Harvard university professor David Mumford, too sent a number of clarification to the Union HRD ministry stating that Anand is an Indian holding an Indian passport though he stays in Spain.
The university first sensed the problem in July.  Since then it has been sending clarificatory notes to the HRD ministry, which however remained unconvinced till the grand master refused to accept the  honour. Anand's refusal forced Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal to personally intervene and clear the file.
According to Dr Rajat Tandon, head of the department of mathematics, HCU, "we learnt 
somewhere in July this year that the HRD Ministry is suspecting Anand's nationality. We sent several clarifications to them but still they have not cleared the file related to the award of honorary doctorate."
The university too obtained a copy of Anand's passport and sent it to the ministry along 
with the clarificatory notes.
Dr Rajat admitted, "there had been a lot of correspondence between the University and the 
Ministry on the issue. In fact, Anand's wife Aruna herself faxed the copy of Anand's passport to the ministry".
President Pratibha Patil is the visitor of the University of Hyderabad and in that capacity she has to clear the proposal forwarded by the ministry. The file was kept in abeyance and not forwarded to  the President for her assent.

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