Government removes names of 312 Sikh foreign nationals from blacklist 

The decision to whittle down the list was taken after a “review” of threats posed by these people to India.

Published: 13th September 2019 11:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th September 2019 11:57 AM   |  A+A-

Golden Temple in Amritsar (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The ‘adverse’ list of Sikh Foreign Nationals, who were involved in anti-India activities, has been curtailed from 314 to just two people, officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Friday.

The 312 nationals taken of the “blacklist” will now be “eligible to get Indian visa and the Overseas Indian Card, a senior Home Ministry official said, adding, “all foreign missions have been informed about the change”.

The decision to whittle down the list was taken after a “review” of threats posed by these people to India. “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.

During the 1980s - when the militant movement for a separate Sikh homeland was at its peak - many Sikh Indian nationals and foreign nationals belonging to Sikh community fell to anti-India propaganda. Some of them even fled India to escape Indian authorities, became foreign nationals and took asylum outside India. They were placed in the adverse list till 2016, making them ineligible to avail visa services to visit India,” another senior official explained.

The blacklisting led to difficulties in providing consular access to those in the list and their family members. With the removal of the names from the “adverse” list, this hurdle has been addressed. All the people removed from the list will now be eligible for “long term Indian visa”.

All categories of asylees who become eligible for issuance of long term Indian visa will also be eligible to apply for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder after they have applied for and held normal visas for a period of two years, officials said.

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