Scrapping blacklist a welcome closure, redresses pain point of Sikh diaspora

  Coming two months before the 550th anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev and opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor to Pakistan, it is a goodwill gesture with immediate resonance and long-term repercussions.

It’s never too late to undo the wrongs of the past for the sake of a better future.
That’s precisely the message in the Narendra Modi government’s decision to scrap the entire blacklist of 314 expatriate Sikhs, save two, who had for long been denied the Indian visa due to their alleged links with the Khalistan movement.
The symbolism and significance of Friday’s announcement hasn’t been lost on anyone – as is evident from a wave of laudatory responses it has evoked from the overseas Sikhs, and political parties and even radical fringe in Punjab.
To be fair, the previous dispensations, notably the Manmohan Singh-led Congress government (2004-14), had also periodically pruned the blacklist, albeit in bits and pieces. Yet, the notoriously enigmatic catalogue, tagging a number of Punjab-origin NRI Sikhs as persona non grata, continued in the records of home ministry and Indian missions abroad.
But, it’s the Modi government which has, in a single stroke, done away with what was a painful and lingering legacy of the Sikh tumult of the 1980s.
GOODWILL GESTURE
Coming two months before the 550th anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev and opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor to Pakistan, it is a goodwill gesture with immediate resonance and long-term repercussions.
The bold move implies the Indian state turning a new leaf on its outreach to the Sikh diaspora, widely recognised for its rising influence in power politics, particularly in Canada and Britain.
Home to a majority of those figuring in the ‘adverse list’, as the blacklist was officially called, both countries also figure high on the Indian security establishment’s radar as the focal centres of a surviving pro-Khalistan rump and its sinister attempts to stoke Sikh separatism and fund the random terror modules in Punjab.



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