Over 300 Blacklisted Sikh Foreign Nationals Can Now Avail Indian VisaSeptember 13, 2019 13:08
(Image source from: The Daily Beast)
The Indian government has removed at least 312 Indian origins living in foreign countries from an adverse list or blacklist enabling them to apply for Indian visa and visit the country, a Home Ministry official said Friday.
The decision came after different security agencies carried out a review on the blacklist containing the names of Sikh foreign nationals.
“Government of India has reviewed the Adverse List containing 314 foreign nationals belonging to Sikh community and brought it down to just two,” the official said.
During the 1980s, when Sikh militancy was at its peak, a number of members from the Sikh community in India and abroad were influenced by anti-India propaganda. In a bid to escape Indian authorities, some Sikhs fled to abroad, acquire foreign nationality and took asylum outside India. They were placed in the blacklist until 2016, making them ineligible to avail visa services to visit India.
It also a major barrier even for the family members of blacklisted Sikhs as even they were not eligible to avail visas who were not on the list. This practice has also been discontinued, an official confirmed.
Accordingly, all the Indian Missions have been advised to grant an appropriate visa to all categories of asylees and derivative asylees (family members) whose names do not include in the Central Adverse List, in line with the procedure followed for other categories of applicants of that nationality, according to an official statement.
According to the official, the Sikhs mentioned in the list, in future, could eventually apply for registration as Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) after they have applied for and held normal visas for a period of two years.
Stating that this review is a continuous and dynamic process and part of a regular exercise, the official said it will afford an opportunity to such Sikh foreign nationals to visit India, meet their family members and reconnect to their roots.
The move comes ahead of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, in November.
By Sowmya Sangam