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M F Husain surrenders Indian passport in Doha

DUBAI: Legendary painter M F Husain, who was recently granted Qatari citizenship, has surrendered his Indian passport to the country's mission in Doha, a media report said on Monday.

95-year-old Husain, revered by many as India's Picasso, on Sunday went to the country's mission in Doha and surrendered his Indian passport, the Gulf Times reported.

Husain, who has been living in self-imposed exile for nearly four years following a spate of cases in India over his controversial paintings of Hindu goddesses, had accepted Qatar's offer and would no longer be an Indian, his son Owais Husain said recently.

India does not recognize dual citizenship. So, "in such a situation, surrendering passport by the person concerned is mandatory and Husain has only done that," an Indian Embassy official was quoted as saying by the paper.

The artist has also applied for the Overseas Citizen of India card, the mission sources said, adding the embassy has facilitated all requirements for him to obtain the OCI card.

He also had a nearly two-hour meeting with Indian Ambassador in Qatar Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa, the sources said.

Husain, who shuttles between Dubai and London, went in exile after a hate campaign was launched against him in 2006 over his controversial paintings.

Several cases were filed against him by people protesting his portrayal of Hindu goddesses in the nude. His house was attacked and art works vandalised by fundamentalists in India.

Indian government has described Husain as "pride of India" and said it was willing to provide security to him.

"There is no case against M F Husain. Supreme Court has quashed all the cases against him," home secretary G K Pillai had recently said. He said the government was ready to provide security to the artist if he planned to return.

"He (Husain) is the pride of India," foreign secretary Nirupama Rao had said, adding, "I would like him to feel safe and secure in India". (TOI)

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