Congress legislator seeks fair chance for black-listed Sikhs

Chandigarh, March 2 (Calcutta Tube) A Congress legislator from Punjab Tuesday sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention on the issue of reviewing the names of black-listed Sikhs, who have been barred from returning to India for the last many years because of their involvement with terrorists and separatists.

In a letter to the prime minister, he also demanded the establishment of an appellate authority providing the the black-listed Sikhs a chance to appeal.

Jassi Khangura told reporters here: ‘The recent reports that Sikh fundamentalists are regrouping, albeit in small numbers, inside and outside the country, is a cause of concern to all of us.’

‘I have received many complaints regarding this matter. There is a danger that resentment may be rising and it is, therefore, critical that these issues be addressed promptly to deny an opportunity to those living outside India and seeking to reintroduce turbulence in Punjab,’ said Khangura, who has recently returned from a tour of the US, Britain and Canada.

He demanded that the entire black-list be pragmatically reviewed and an appeal process through an appellate authority be introduced.

‘There should be an appellate authority, so that affected persons are treated equitably. The right of appeal must not be denied to any person of Indian origin,’ he said.

‘It is now critical that there be a fresh risk assessment of every Sikh name featuring on this list,’ he pointed out, adding that about 200 Sikhs’ names figure in the list.

Khangura also demanded that the black-list must be made accessible under the provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the people whose names feature in it should be given a fair opportunity to plead their case.

Few weeks ago, the Punjab government also asked the central government to review the black-list of Sikhs debarred from entering the country.

A number of people settled abroad — mainly in the US, Canada and European countries — were debarred from entering India, owing to their past direct or indirect involvement with terrorists and separatists.

Punjab had suffered a bloody phase of terrorism between 1981-95 as separatists sought a Sikh state — Khalistan. Over 25,000 people, including several hundred police personnel had lost their lives in the violence.

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