I will remain an Indian 'until the end', Sania tells BJP

Updated 24 Jul 2014

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Sania Mirza - Reuters/File
Sania Mirza - Reuters/File
Sania Mirza (L) and her husband Shoaib Malik (R). — Photo by AFP
Sania Mirza (L) and her husband Shoaib Malik (R). — Photo by AFP

In a fiery retort to Telangana Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader K Laxman's comments questioning Sania Mirza's Indian 'roots', the tennis star stated that those attempting to "brand her as an outsider were "petty."

Sparking a controversy, BJP leader K Laxman had earlier said the Indian tennis star was the 'daughter-in-law of Pakistan' and questioned her credentials to be appointed as the brand ambassador of India's new state Telangana, Indian media reported.

In a statement by Mirza after the uproar, the tennis ace said: "I am married to Mr. Shoaib Malik, who is from Pakistan. I am an Indian, who will remain an Indian until the end of my life."

"I was born in Mumbai as my mother needed to be at a specialist hospital since she was seriously unwell at the time of my birth. I came home to Hyderabad when I was 3 weeks old," she added.

The Congress termed the statement against the popular sportswoman as “bizarre”.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government had decided to appoint Mirza as ambassador of the newly-created state.

Elaborating on his statement to reporters, Laxman, who is the leader of the BJP in the Telangana legislative assembly, said Sania was born in Maharashtra and settled in Hyderabad only later, therefore, he said, she was a non-local.

He labelled her as the “daughter-in-law” of Pakistan referring to the fact that she was married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik.

The BJP leader also said that the 27-year-old had never rallied for a separate state.

Laxman accused the government of taking the step with an eye on the minority community votes in the upcoming elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.