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Govt allows blacklisted foreign Sikhs to visit India


Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal


New Delhi: In a decision that may allow families to reconnect, the Indian government has reviewed the Adverse List containing as many as 314 blacklisted foreign nationals from the Sikh community and brought it down to just two.

As a result, such Sikh foreign nationals become eligible to avail visa services to visit their families in India.

A government statement said, "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 with their roots."

During the Punjab militancy in the 1980s, many Sikh Indian nationals fled India to escape authorities after they fell for anti-India propaganda. During those tumultuous years, many became foreign nationals or took asylum outside India.

The Indian government placed them in the Adverse List till 2016. It made them ineligible to avail visa services to visit India.

"One major issue coming in the way of grant of consular/visa services to asylees and their family members, mostly belonging to Sikh community, was maintenance of local adverse lists by Indian missions. This practice has also been discontinued," said the government in a statement.

All Indian missions and posts abroad have also been advised to grant "appropriate visa to all categories of asylees" and family members whose names do not figure in the Central Adverse List. This will be done in line with the procedure followed for other categories of applicants of that nationality.

Not just that, all categories of asylees who were blacklisted in a way for a long time, will also now be eligible to apply for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders. But this can only happen after they have applied for and held normal visas for a period of two years, said the government.

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