Chandigarh, Aug 21 (IANS) The pruning of the blacklist of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) by the central government, which will enable the earlier blacklisted people to visit India, was on Sunday welcomed by Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs.
The Ministry of Home Affairs recently pruned 212 names from the list of 324 people.
Most of those figuring on this blacklist were NRIs from Punjab who were accused of having links with the separatist Khalistan movement in the 1980s and 1990s. Majority of them live in the US, Canada and some European nations.
Punjab had witnessed militancy, with hardliners seeking a separate Sikh nation, in the 1980s and early 1990s.
A resolution was passed unanimously by the members of Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance, SGPC and DSGMC, at a meeting held here on Sunday, thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for getting the blacklist pruned.
“This initiative on the part of the GoI (Government of India) would be instrumental in assuaging the bruised feelings and tormented psyche of Sikh community and their families,” the resolution said.
Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh had earlier sought the pruning of the ‘blacklist’ of the Sikh immigrants living in various countries.
“All those who went abroad for political asylum were not anti-national as most of them were actually the job seekers. Barring some anti-national elements, those who used the alibi of political asylum actually wanted to seek jobs and there is nothing wrong in allowing them to visit India,” Amarinder had pointed out.
The Akali Dal had also sought pruning of the blacklist maintained by the MHA saying that some names were not required for any crime in Punjab.