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Posted at: Oct 1, 2019, 5:11 PM; last updated: Oct 1, 2019, 5:11 PM (IST)

UK NRI welcomes India’s decision removing names of 312 Sikh foreign nationals from blacklist

UK NRI welcomes India’s decision removing names of 312 Sikh foreign nationals from blacklist
Photo for representation only.

New Delhi, October 1  

A prominent UK-based NRI has welcomed the Indian government’s decision of removing names of 312 Sikh foreign nationals from its blacklist and releasing eight Sikh prisoners lodged in different jails in the country, saying the news has sent a wave of happiness among Sikh community members in the UK.

Charan Kanwal Singh Sekhon, chairman of Social Education Voluntary Association (SEVA) Trust UK and councillor Sharnbrook Counil, Bedford, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the decisions.

“I was part of the Sikh delegation involving the Sikh Council, Niskam Sewsk Jatha, UK’s leading Gurdwara representatives, councillors, Community, Charity, Voluntary Group representatives and business leaders when we all met with Modi in 2015 during his London visit,” he said in a statement here.

During the meeting, this issue was raised along with others, including removing names of 312 Sikh foreign nationals from the blacklist and releasing Sikh prisoners who have already served their sentences, Sekhon said.

“Modi assured the group to look into all these demands raised in full depth and he listened to all the concerns raised in that meeting very carefully and took serious interest in all the issues raised and discussed,” he said.

“I would also like to thank the Indian High Commission, London for its positive role and organising that highly significant meeting,” Sekhon said.

For the first time, an Indian prime minister met with the Sikh delegation on the British soil to discuss such issues after the trouble days of Punjab started, he said.

The Indian government has already revised and nearly cleared the blacklist, and Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri also recently announced direct flight from London Stansted to Punjab which has been a long pending demand, Sekhon said.

“This news of releasing Sikh prisoners has sent a wave of happiness among Sikh community members in the UK. These are very positive moves clearly indicating the sincere efforts by the government in a really important year when we are celebrating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji who was a true messenger of peace, love and serving the humanity,” he said.

On September 13, Home Ministry officials said the government has removed from its blacklist names of 312 Sikh foreign nationals involved in anti-India activities and only two people figure in the list now.

The decision was taken after a review carried out by different security agencies on 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.

The Union Home Ministry on Saturday announced that eight Sikh prisoners, lodged in different jails in the country for committing crimes during the militancy period in Punjab, will be released by the government on 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November as a humanitarian gesture.

It said that through a special remission, the death sentence of another Sikh prisoner has been commuted to life imprisonment. — PTI

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