New Delhi: Thirty-five years after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards and the anti-Sikh riots that enveloped the country, India is finally easing its grip on the many who were blacklisted then.
The government has removed from its blacklist names of 312 Sikh foreign nationals allegedly involved in anti-India activities, Home Ministry officials said on Friday. Only two persons figure in the list now.
The decision was taken after different security agencies carried out a review of the Central Adverse List or blacklist containing the names of Sikh foreign nationals. A blacklist on Sikh foreign nationals maintained by various Indian missions abroad has also been discontinued by the government.
These Sikh foreign nationals are now eligible to avail visa services to visit their families in India and reconnect with their roots.
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 Indian and foreign nationals belonging to the Sikh community were involved in anti-India propaganda. Some Sikh Indian nationals fled India to escape authorities, became foreign nationals and took asylum outside India.
One major issue coming in the way of grant of consular/visa services to asylees and their family members, mostly belonging to the Sikh community, was the maintenance of local adverse lists by Indian Missions abroad.
All Indian Missions/Posts abroad have been advised to grant appropriate visa to all categories of asylees and family members.
They 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.
(With inputs from PTI)