Minister of State for External Affairs and other members of the delegation, the party’s secretary general Harpal Singh Cheema, Kamikkar Singh, Jasveer Singh Khandur, Amrik Singh Isru, Santokh Singh, Gurmeet Singh Goga, Jagdish Singh were also present.
Harpal Singh Cheema informed that during the meeting, certain issues related to so-called “Black List of Sikhs” of Government of India was discussed. He said the delegation had conveyed the Minister said the Black list has been a matter of mystery and harassment for Sikhs since long; as it was never made public by the Government and many Sikhs were denied entry to India despite possessing valid visas to visit this country. Now, certain sections of media have revealed the Balck List, which was sent by Government of India to Government of Punjab for some recommendations. These reports suggest that Government of India is reviewing this list.
Cheema told the Minister said he (Harpal Singh Cheema), a resident of village Lohari Kalan of district Fatehgarh Sahib and Kulbir Singh Barapind, resident of village Barapind, district Jalandhar are senior members of SAD (Panch Pardhani), who were brought back to India, are tried by Indian courts and have been acquitted by Courts after trial. They are currently living in Punjab, but their name still appears in the so-called “Black List of Sikhs”, which is highly unreasonable. Cheema told the minister that his party suspects that Government of India is keeping a secret Black List of Sikhs, as name of at-least two persons who were recently denied entry to India, despite possessing valid Visas, on the basis of Balck list does not appear in List sent by Government of India to Government of Punjab and made public by Media. These two persons are Lakhwinder Singh, a Canadian Citizen, who was sent back to Canada in January 2009 from Raja Sahnsi Airport, Amritsar; and Shubhneet Kaur, a citizen of New Zealand, who was denied entry to India and was sent back to New Zealand from Delhi Airport in January 2010. EArlier, both of them were frequently visiting Punjab, to their ancestral homeland, before they was “black listed” by the Government of India. Denying entry despite of possessing valid visa on account of inclusion of their name in Black list was harassment for them, especially when the current expositions have revealed that their name does not appear in Black List or it marks towards the existence of “Secret Black List”.
Cheema told the Minister that Union government has never specified the criteria followed by it for black listing Sikhs, which is against principles of natural justice, as it deprives a person from knowing the grounds on which he is denied the right to visit his ancestral homeland and relatives. As a result it gives rise to distrust, because the flaws of black list, highlighted by media, have revealed that the even those names have been inserted in the “black list” regarding witch the Government does not possess primary information. You might be aware that 185 names sent by Union government actually correspond to 169 persons as names of certain persons were entered twice and thrice in “Black list”.
He said many persons are black listed by Government of India just because that they use their inherent right of Speech and expression, which is one of the universal rights specified by Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), to which India is a signatory. There could be not any reason, other than that discussed here, behind black listing these Sikhs, because no criminal case is pending against them.
Cheema told the minister that the problem of Black list does not hang in vacuum, rather it is deeply rooted with Indo-Sikh relations, and the bitterness of these relations, to which these type of list could only add more. He expected that Union government would be able to appreciate the point that, unless the core issues affecting Indo-Sikh relationships are sorted out and resolved, India will not be able to attain anything of the sort, it desire to attain from making, keeping or reviewing black lists.
Photo Caption : Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar (Panch Pardhani) delegation while submitting memorandum to Union minister for State for Externail Affairs.
Photo by: Gurpreet Singh Mehak
Contributed by: Gurpreet Singh Mehak
Date: September 13, 2010