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Thursday, October 01, 2020

Explained: Former Khalistan supporters can now enter India — here’s how

Being on the Adverse List meant that these people, who have now either taken asylum in foreign countries or are their citizens, could not get a visa to visit India.

Written by Angad Singh Brar , Edited by Explained Desk | Chandigarh | Updated: September 14, 2019 7:05:43 am
Ex-Khalistan supporters can now enter India. Here's why The list has names of those individuals who are suspected to have links with terrorist outfits or have violated visa norms in their previous visit to India. (File Photo)

The Centre has removed from its blacklist — or the Central Adverse List as it is officially known — names of 312 Sikh foreign nationals involved in anti-India activities and only two persons figure in the list now. The Indian Express explains what is this blacklist, its purpose and what the central government’s action mean.

What is the Central Adverse List?

The Ministry of Home Affairs maintains a list of individuals who supported the Khalistan movement in 1980s and 90s but left India to take asylum in foreign countries. This list included the name of “hardliners” who were in favour of a separate Sikh state and had opposed the Operation Blue Star. Many of the Sikhs on this list fled India to escape the authorities, acquired foreign nationality and took asylum outside India. This list is not restricted to Punjab or the Khalistan movement. The list has names of those individuals who are suspected to have links with terrorist outfits or have violated visa norms in their previous visit to India. The list also includes the names of those persons who have indulged in criminal activities or have been accused of sexual crimes against children in their respective countries. It has more than 35,000 names on it.

What is the purpose of this list?

This list is constantly used by all Indian Missions and Consulates to stop the individuals named in it from entering India. This is done by not granting visa to such persons. It is a step taken by the Indian government to maintain internal security. The list is also used to keep serious offenders outside India as somebody may commit a crime in his native nation and then apply for an Indian visa to escape prosecution.

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Who maintains this list?

The list is maintained by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs with inputs from all the state governments. Various intelligence agencies constantly review this list and add new names to it. Central intelligence agencies as well as the state-level intelligence contributes to the information determining the inclusion of a person in this list. Since law and order is a state subject, the state police is also utilised for intelligence gathering in order to update the list.

What does the recent action mean?

The 312 Sikhs whose names have been removed from the Central Adverse list can now visit India and meet their families here. Most of these Sikh nationals have remained outside country since the 1980s and have not visited their families since then. Majority of these people are aged. With this decision of the government, they will now get access to consular services as well as an Indian visa. This list had a multiplier effect in denying visas as the family members of the persons on this list were also denied visas to other countries. Such a practice will no longer be carried forward.

Was there any judicial judgement on this list?

There was no direct judicial pronouncement on this list but the Punjab and Haryana High Court on May 29, 2001 had directed the Government of India to issue a passport to Jagjit Singh Chauhan who was a Khalistan supporter. According to the HC it was a violation of fundamental rights to deny Jagjit entry into India. This gains significance as the present government will finally allow entry of persons excluded from that list.

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