As many as 312 Sikhs, who had fled the country during the peak of militancy in Punjab and were thus put on an “Adverse List” prepared by the government, have been taken out of it. The 314-strong list now has only two individuals.
The adverse list prevented these people, who have now either taken asylum in other countries or are citizens there, from getting an Indian visa.
What is Central Adverse List?
The MHA maintains a list of individuals who supported the Khalistan movement in the 1980s and ‘90s and left India to take asylum abroad. This list included name of pro-Khalistan “hardliners” who had opposed the Operation Blue Star. This list is not restricted to Punjab, or the Khalistan movement; it has names of individuals who are suspected to have links with terror outfits or violated visa norms in a previous visit to India, those who indulged in criminal activities or been accused of sexual crimes against children in their respective countries.
The government’s move will help them visit India and meet their family members, according to sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Sources said the government has reviewed the adverse list and brought it down to just two who are still suspected of being linked with forces inimical to India. The review is a dynamic process that is carried out periodically, sources said.
An MHA official said, “During the 1980s, many Sikh Indian nationals and foreign nationals belonging to the Sikh community fell to anti-India propaganda. Some Sikh Indian nationals fled abroad to escape the authorities, and took asylum outside. They were placed in the adverse list until 2016, making them ineligible to avail visa services to visit India.”
According to the official, a major issue coming in the way of grant of consular or visa services to asylees (people seeking or granted asylum) and their family members, mostly belonging to the Sikh community, was maintenance of local adverse lists by Indian missions.
“This practice has also been discontinued,” the official said. “Consequently, all Indian missions/posts abroad have been advised to grant appropriate visa to all categories of asylees and derivative asylees (or family members) whose names do not figure in the Central Adverse List, in line with the procedure followed for other categories of applicants of that nationality.”
Sources said all categories of asylees who become eligible for issuance of long term Indian visa will also be eligible to apply for registration as Overseas Citizen of India cardholders after they have applied for and held normal visas for a period of two years.