Centre reaches out to ‘blacklisted’ Sikhs

CHANDIGARH: The Union Government has put into motion the process to allow Sikhs, who figured on the now defunct “blacklist”, to visit India.

editorial@tribune.com

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11

The Union Government has put into motion the process to allow Sikhs, who figured on the now defunct “blacklist”, to visit India.

The controversial list was done away with in April this year. Due to the list, the entry of blacklisted persons in India was banned since the days of terrorism.

The Union Government has, through its embassies and high commissions abroad, written to the persons mentioned on the list that they can now travel to India.

The Tribune was the first to report about the scrapping of the “blacklist”. Documents show that the high commissions and embassies have written personal letters or called up members on the list to convey the decision. The letters say they are welcome to travel to India without any hindrance.

Interestingly, the Khalistan Liberation Force, a banned terrorist outfit, has welcomed the removal of the “blacklist” of Sikhs by the Indian government. Some of its members have expressed the desire to visit India, but with a rider that they would be allowed to raise the demand for Khalistan.

As per a letter written to the Indian High Commission (a copy of which is with The Tribune) by a senior member of the Khalistan Liberation Force on its letterhead, the removal of the blacklist was welcomed, but their views on a Sikh state of Khalistan was unchanged. The Khalistan Liberation Force member says they would accept the “invitation” to visit India only if their freedom of expression to campaign for Khalistan was honoured.

A senior official of the Punjab Police, confirming the letter, said any member on the list was welcome into the country as the list no longer existed.

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