More than 100 Sikhs removed from blacklist: Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh

Rajnath Singh
Photo: PTI

New Delhi (PTI): The Indian government has lifted the ban on more than 100 Sikhs, blacklisted after the outbreak of militancy in Punjab, and they can now travel to India, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday.

The BJP-led NDA government has always been sensitive to the demands of the Sikh community including justice for the victims of 1984 riots in Delhi, Singh said.

The minister noted that after assuming the power, the government formed an SIT (Special Investigation Team) to investigate the matter.

Charge sheets have been filed in some cases, while some other cases are being investigated, he said while speaking at an event organised by the RSS affiliate Rashtriya Sikh Sangat to mark the 350th birth year of the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

“Many people (who hail from Sikh community) from various countries were also blacklisted and they could not travel to India. Today I want to inform you that more than 100 Sikhs names have been removed from the list,” Singh said.

In August last year also, the government had said that names of 225 Sikhs, chronicled in the government’s blacklist for their alleged involvement in subversive or anti-India activities, had been removed.

The blacklisted NRI Sikhs are barred from travelling to India due to their alleged ties with Khalistan movement in the 80s and 90s. The list was prepared at different levels by the security agencies.

Speaking at the event, Singh also emphasised on the role of Sikhs in safeguarding ancient Indian culture and said they are the “guardians our ethos and value system”.

“Guru Gobind Singh and the entire Sikh religion have acted as a shield for our ancient ‘santana dharam’ and culture against attacks from foreign forces,” he said.

Addressing the event, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said the leadership and the path shown by the Sikh Guru is relevant in the present times too.

“For overall development of our people and the country, we all need to follow his teachings,” Bhagwat said adding that the Sikh figure fought for the entire society and not for any specific religion.

Many Union Ministers including Piyush Goyal, Harsh Vardhan, Hardeep Puri and Vijay Goel were also present at the event.