New Delhi, Aug 18: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaves not stone upturned ahead of the crucial 2017 Punjab polls. In one such move, the Prime Minister’s Office has decided to scrap a 32-year blacklist by then then government which banned 212 Sikh NRI families from visiting India.
The families came under scrutiny after the Congress government’s Operation Bluestar in 1984 and Kanishka bombings in 1985. The NRI Sikhs affected by this ban are residents of the United States, UK and Canada. The operation was against the Khalistani militants hiding in the Golden Temple of Amritsar. The operation was carried out by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Operation Bluestar was an Indian Army offensive against Khalistani militants holed up in the iconic Golden Temple of Amritsar. It was ordered by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi. A Boeing-747 aircraft flying on the Montreal-New Delhi route was blown up by explosives on board killing 329 passengers, most of them Canadian-Indians. Following which the Sikh militant groups were investigated and arrests were made in Canada. (ALSO READ: This Sikh community of Lucknow hosting iftar party in Gurudwara shows how communal harmony is done right)
As per a Times of India report, a committee headed by additional secretary of the home ministry examined the blacklist and 212 families out of 324 were removed. Rest of the cases are being examined and may be removed from the blacklist.
Sikh NRI groups had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider the India travel ban while on his ban to UK and Canada. Reportedly, the Intelligence Bureau was opposed to removing the ban. However, the PMO took up the matter after which IB reexamined each case. Following years of ban, may Sikh NRI groups had started raising their voices against the 32-year old decision.