The Centre has virtually done away with the list, with only two names of men not connected with Punjab now left on it.
Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has welcomed the Centre’s decision to virtually scrap the blacklist of 314 Sikh foreign nationals who have been barred from travelling to India, which was “totally discriminatory towards the Sikh community, in response to the state government’s persistent demand and efforts”.
The Centre has virtually done away with the list, with only two names of men not connected with Punjab now left on it. The Central government has also discontinued the practice of maintenance of local adverse lists by the respective Indian Missions in various countries.
The chief minister thanked the Central government for finally conceding the state’s demand for more or less revoking the list, thus making Sikh foreign nationals eligible for availing visa services to visit their families in India and reconnect with their roots.
His government, said Captain Amarinder, had worked actively with the Centre for scrapping the list, created by the Central government and its agencies in 2016. Every Sikh had the right to visit Punjab and Darbar Sahib, including those who had gone astray in the surcharged atmosphere of the 80s and 90s, particularly in the wake of the Operation Blue Star and the anti-Sikh riots, said the chief minister.
The chief minister said the Central government’s decision would go a long way in bringing those members of the Sikh community, who had fled the nation as a result of the circumstances that prevailed in the 80s and the 90s, to connect with their families back home.
The creation of the blacklist had been a regressive move, which needed to be corrected in the larger interest of the community, whose contribution to the growth and development of India, and the nations in which they were settled, was exemplary, said Captain Amarinder. By removing all the 312 Indian-origin Sikhs from the list, the central government had accepted his government’s reasoning that cutting off the Sikh foreign nationals from their roots would only lead to their further alienation, which would serve no good for the country, he added.