'What has my father got to do with my Padma Shri'
Mumbai: Pakistani-origin musician Adnan Sami, in the headlines for his Padma Shri, says he is an artiste and he has nothing to do with politics but his name is being dragged into controversy by some people to further their agenda.
Sami, who became an Indian citizen in 2016 and had expressed his "infinite gratitude" at being chosen for the government award, also asked what his father had to do with his award.
His father's past as a Pakistani Air Force pilot has drawn criticism but Sami finds this argument "irrelevant".
"My father was a decorated fighter pilot and he was a professional soldier. He did his duty for his country. I respect him for that. It was his life. He got awarded for that.
"I did not benefit or credit from that. Similarly he cannot get credit for what I do. What does my award have to do with my father? It is irrelevant," Sami told PTI in an interview.
Sami, who is among the 118 Padma Shri awardees this year, is in the centre of controversy with the BJP saying he is highly deserving of the award and the opposition Congress and NCP questioning his merit.
The 46-year-old composer-singer was also involved in an unseemly Twitter spat with Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill. He said he shared a good relationship with people across the political spectrum.
"People who are criticising are some minor politicians. They are doing it because of some political agenda that they have and it has nothing to do with me. I am not a politician, I am a musician," Sami said.
"They have their own political agenda and issues with the government and they are using my name as another stepney to try and further their agenda," he added.
Politicians such as Maharashtra Minorities Development Minister and NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik called the recognition to Sami a damage control move by the ruling BJP government at the Centre for being questioned over the CAA and the NRC.