The number of Sikhs banned from visiting India has been reviewed by the government; it has exempted 312 individuals out of 314 allowing them to visit India. A total of 314 Sikh foreign nationals were banned from entering India during the 80s after their alleged involvement in anti-India activities during the peak of the separatist movement. Only two Sikh foreign nationals have been put on the blacklist after a fresh analysis by the government. This analysis is done on the basis of the threat posed by individuals. Information regarding those banned from entering the country is circulated to Indian missions abroad and they are denied visa through any route.
The fresh review provides an opportunity to all those foreign nationals who were cut from their roots and families. A source close to home office 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 to their roots”. At the peak of the separatist movement in the 1980s, a number of Sikhs fled India and took asylum in various countries, subsequently gaining nationality there.
Many of them were blacklisted until the end of 2016, which restricted them and their families from entering India. The current decision also helps the “asylees” to visit India. “The practice of maintaining the local adverse list by Indian missions have also been discontinued. Consequently, all Indian Missions abroad have been advised to grant an appropriate visa to all categories of asylees and derivative asylees meaning family members whose names do not figure in the Central Adverse List,” said an official.
In addition, the asylees can now apply for a long term Indian visa as well as the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, depending on their eligibility. For example, if an individual has applied for an Indian visa and has held a normal visa for at least two years then the person could also apply for overseas citizenship of India. In that case, the person would be allowed to work and stay in India for an indefinite period without leaving their foreign national identity.