Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh claimed that the decision was taken in response to the state government’s persistent demand and efforts.
A credit war broke out between the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab over the Centre’s decision to remove from the Central Adverse List names of 312 Sikh foreign nationals involved in anti-India activities.
Welcoming the Centre’s decision to “virtually scrap the controversial black list”, which he said was totally discriminatory towards the Sikh community, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh claimed that the decision was taken in response to the state government’s persistent demand and efforts.
On the other hand Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal said that the list was created by Congress regimes, which imposed restrictions on Sikhs’ visits to India. “It was the culmination of the efforts of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the SAD which had been consistently following up this issue with the NDA government,” he claimed.
Sukhbir said the ‘black list’ was a creation of the Congress party and the Punjab Congress leaders had no guts even to approach their government to get it withdrawn during the ten year rule of the UPA government at the Centre from 2004 to 2014.
“In direct contrast, Badal and the SAD has been consistently demanding that the list as well as other local black lists prepared by Indian missions abroad be done away with. Today we are thankful to PM and the NDA government for meeting the demand of the Sikh community and deleting 312 names from the black list. This is an act of statesmanship and will go a long way in assuaging the hurt Sikh feelings and ending the feeling of alienation in the Sikh community”, he said.
Sukhbir said he had written a letter to former Home minister Rajnath Singh immediately after the NDA came into power in 2014 to do away with the black list.
He said following this Parkash Singh Badal had also written a letter in 2016 as CM to remove the names of several Sikhs settled abroad from the secret black list. “It was after this that PM Narendra Modi intervened and the black list was pruned substantially,” he added.
Amarinder, meanwhile, said, that his government had worked actively with the Centre for scrapping the list, created by the central government and its agencies in 2016. “Every Sikh had the right to visit Punjab and Darbar Sahib, including those who had gone astray in the surcharged atmosphere of the 80s and 90s, particularly in the wake of the Operation Bluestar and the anti-Sikh riots,” he said .
The chief minister said the central government’s decision would go a long way in bringing those members of the Sikh community, who had fled the nation as a result of the circumstances that prevailed in the 80s and the 90s, to connect with their families back home.
“The creation of the black list had been a regressive move, which needed to be corrected in the larger interest of the community, whose contribution to the growth and development of India, and the nations in which they were settled, was exemplary,” he added. By removing 312 Indian-origin Sikhs from the list, the Centre has accepted his government’s reasoning that cutting off the Sikh foreign nationals from their roots would only lead to their further alienation, which would serve no good for the country, he added.
(With PTI inputs)
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