NEW DELHI: In a major move, the Centre has decided to review the “blacklist of foreigners” after various reports that many foreign nationals were denied visas or deported from the airport on flimsy grounds.
The move came immediately after the Home Ministry pruned the ‘blacklist of Sikhs’ following a review process. According to sources, the number of person s on the list that may have had at least thousand entries has been brought to around only 50. Names of foreign nationals and foreigners of Indian origin who are found to have violated visa rules or indulged in undesirable and “anti-India” activities during their earlier stay in India are placed in the ‘blacklist’ depending on the nature of the offence committed by them with a view to banning their entry to the country.
A top official in the government said that existence of several ‘blacklists’ maintained by different agencies sometimes caused huge embarrassment to the government and that time had come to have a relook and re-examine the ‘blacklisted persons’ data with the government agencies.
The ministry is a nodal agency for preparing and maintaining the ‘blacklists.’ “The review has been pending for a long time. Since we have now pruned the list of foreigners of Indian origin, it will be prudent to make the required changes in the foreign nationals’ list. We will start the process soon,” he added.
It is learnt that besides the immigration division under the ministry, some embassies also keep their separate lists which sources in the government admitted results in very awkward moment sometimes. For example, a foreign national in June last year was granted a visa by an Indian embassy but he was deported from the airport after he landed in India. His name did not figure in the embassy ‘blacklist’.
Review of names of persons in the blacklists is done as per an established procedure because of the involvement of multi- agencies but the exercise is often delayed. A source admitted that sometime a small mistake like wrong identification was also found to be responsible though it was very rare.