News East West
NEW DELHI: Vancouver-based Ripudaman Singh Malik, who was accused in the Air India Kanishka bombing and later acquitted, is among 21 Sikhs whose names have been deleted by India from its blacklist of those banned from entering the country.
The blacklist was prepared by the home ministry during the militancy period in Punjab when many Sikhs sought asylum abroad and demanded Khalistan.
With the deletion of 21 names, only 22 Sikhs now remain on the blacklist of the Indian government. These people will now be free to come to India, but they could face criminal cases pending against them.
Among the 21 whose names have deleted include Dal Khalsa International ex-chief Manmohan Singh Bajaj, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale aide Massa Singh, Beant Singh assassination accused Resham Singh Babbar, Dhamma Singh, Avtar Singh Sanghera, Satbir Singh Bhullar, Satnam Singh Johl, Gian Singh Sandhu, Daljit Singh Sekhon, Mokham Singh Bagria, Parshottam Singh Pamma, Gurwinder Singh Rana, Gurmeet Singh Aulakh, Prof Uday Singh, Parminder Singh Bal, Raghbir Singh Johar, Amrik Singh Gill and Bhupinder Singh Johal.
The Tribune has quoted top government officials as saying that the government’s move is aimed at bringing these people back into the mainstream by making them pledge their allegiance to the Indian Constitution.
The Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, which is an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, has been credited with prevailing upon the government to get the names of these Sikhs, based mostly in Canada, Germany and Britain, removed from the blacklist.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has also been pressing the Centre to remove the names of Sikhs from the blacklist.
The deletion of these names comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meetings with separatist Sikh leaders in Britain last year.