scrap blacklist

File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. (IANS photo)

CHANDIGARH — Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Sept. 13 hailed the Center's decision to scrap the controversial blacklist, which was totally discriminatory towards the Sikh community, in response to the state's persistent demand and efforts.

Conceding the demand, the Center has virtually done away with the list, which comprised 314 Sikh foreign nationals, with only two names of men not connected with Punjab now left on it.

The Central government has also discontinued the practice of maintenance of local adverse lists by the respective Indian Missions in various countries.

In a statement, the chief minister thanked the central government for finally conceding the state's demand for more or less revoking the list, thus making Sikh foreign nationals eligible for availing visa services to visit their families in India and reconnect with their roots.

His government, said Amarinder Singh, had worked actively with the Center for scrapping the list, created by the central government and its agencies in 2016.

Every Sikh had the right to visit Punjab and the Darbar Sahib, including those who had gone astray in the surcharged atmosphere of the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in the wake of Operation Bluestar and the anti-Sikh riots, said the chief minister.

He said the decision would go a long way in bringing those members of the Sikh community, who had fled the nation as a result of the circumstances, to connect with their families back home.

The creation of the blacklist had been a regressive move, which needed to be corrected in the larger interest of the community, whose contribution to the growth and development of India, and the nations in which they were settled, was exemplary, said Amarinder Singh.

By removing all the 312 India-origin Sikhs from the list, the government had accepted his government's reasoning that cutting off the Sikh foreign nationals from their roots would only lead to their further alienation, which would serve no good to the country, he added.

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