142 names has been deleted from blacklist of Sikh NRIs

Chandigarh: The Centre has deleted the names of 142 people out of the total 169 from the "blacklist" of Sikh NRIs following the pleas of the Punjab government, a government release said today.

The issue of blacklist, which was one of the major political demands of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and formed a part of its poll promises in February 2007, was a key issue troubling the NRIs, it said.

The Punjab government had been demanding that the list should be regularly reviewed and the names on it should be made public so that "the unjust denial of access to common and innocent NRI Sikhs should stop", the release said.

It further claimed the Union government`s earlier refusal to do so had become a major source of harassment and exploitation of NRI Sikhs — many of whom were denied access to the country even though their names did not figure in the list.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also holds the state Home portfolio, today demanded that all the details, including the names of the remaining persons, should be put on the official website of the Ministry of Home Affairs "to eliminate any further exploitation of Sikhs in the matter."

"There should be an automatic mechanism for periodic review of these lists. While those facing criminal charges should be brought before the law, there should be no harassment of the innocents," the release quoted Badal as saying.

The issue of the revision of the blacklist was raised by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at the `All India Chief Ministers` Conference on Internal Security` in New Delhi on February 7 last year.

In a statement, the chief minister thanked all persons and organisations who had helped his government in getting this demand accepted by the Centre.