312 Sikhs Removed From Indian Government Blacklist – Free To Return?

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Blacklisted Sikhs: The Indian government has removed 312 Sikh foreign nationals from its blacklist. The blacklist was created by the government as it deemed those blacklisted to be involved in anti-India activity Home Ministry officials said today.

The decision comes after a review had been carried out by different security agencies on the Central Adverse List or blacklist containing the names of foreign nationals who it deemed had carried out anti-India activity.

“The government of India has reviewed the Adverse List containing 314 foreign nationals belonging to the Sikh community and brought it down to just two,” an official of the Home Ministry confirmed.

This review is a continuous and dynamic process and is a part of a regular exercise. Such a review will afford an opportunity to such Sikh foreign nationals to visit India, meet their family members and reconnect to their roots, the official said.

In the 1980s, many Sikh Indian nationals and foreign nationals belonging to the Sikh community were alleged to be involved in anti-India propaganda, as a result of the actions of the Government of the time.  Some Sikh Indian nationals left India to avoid being arrested and became foreign nationals.

They were placed in the blacklist till 2016, making them ineligible to apply for visa services to visit or return to India.

“This practice has also been discontinued. Consequently, all Indian Missions have been advised to grant an appropriate visa to all categories of asylees and derivative asylees (family members) whose names do not figure in the Central Adverse List, in line with the procedure followed for other categories of applicants of that nationality,” said the official.

The official said that, in future, Sikhs mentioned in the list could eventually apply for registration as Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) after they have applied for and held normal visas for a period of two years.

“This review is a continuous and dynamic process and part of a regular exercise. Such a review will afford an opportunity to such Sikh foreign nationals to visit India, meet their family members and reconnect to their roots,” said the official.

Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh had on several occasions in the past raised the issue with the Centre. He recently met Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi.

The move comes ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak in November. India and Pakistan are building a corridor to facilitate Sikh pilgrims to visit Kartarpur shrine in Pakistan, where Guru Nanak spent his final days.

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