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Controversial Sikh Businessman Ripudaman Singh Malik Among 21 Sikhs Removed From India’s Blacklist

Ripudaman Singh Malik

The other NRI Sikhs who will now not face any visa restrictions from the Indian Government, post their delisting are — Satbir Singh Bhullar, Satnam Singh Johl, Gian Singh Sandhu, Daljit Singh Sekhon, Mokham Singh Bagria, Parshottam Singh Pamma, Gurwinder Singh Rana (associated with AISSF), Gurmeet Singh Aulakh, Prof Uday Singh, Parminder Singh Bal, Raghbir Singh Johar, Amrik Singh Gill and Bhupinder Singh Johal.

CHANDIGARH – Controversial Sikh businessman and 1985 Air India bombing accused and later acquitted Ripudaman Singh Malik, Resham Singh Babbar, accused of being one of the conspirators in former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh’s assassination case; and Massa Singh, an aide of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, are among 21 Sikhs whose names have been struck off the “blacklist” of Sikhs by India’s Union Home Ministry.

With the names of 21 Sikhs — some involved in terrorist activities in Punjab in the 1980s and 1990s and others having separatist political leanings — being struck off the so-called blacklist, these persons will now be able to come to India, though some of them may have to face trial in criminal cases pending against them.

The idea, say top government officials, is to bring these people back into the mainstream by making them pledge their allegiance to the Indian Constitution.

The former head of Dal Khalsa International Manmohan Singh Bajaj; member of the Panthic committee that organised Sarbat Khalsa in 1986 Dhamma Singh alias Balbir; Babbar Khalsa International activist Avtar Singh Sanghera are also among the prominent Khalistan ideologues whose names have been struck off the blacklist.

The others who will now not face any visa restrictions from the Indian Government, post their delisting are — Satbir Singh Bhullar, Satnam Singh Johl, Gian Singh Sandhu, Daljit Singh Sekhon, Mokham Singh Bagria, Parshottam Singh Pamma, Gurwinder Singh Rana (associated with AISSF), Gurmeet Singh Aulakh, Prof Uday Singh, Parminder Singh Bal, Raghbir Singh Johar, Amrik Singh Gill and Bhupinder Singh Johal.

With the deletion of these 21 names from the secret blacklist — prepared by the Government of India more than three decades ago, only 22 names remain on this blacklist now.

With the crucial Punjab Assembly elections round the corner, the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat — an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh — has managed to almost prune this list to an almost negligible number.

Punjab Chief Minister and chief patron of Shiromani Akali Dal Parkash Singh Badal too had been seeking the pruning of this list since 2010 and had even written letters to the Government of India asking for doing away with the list. Till 2011, there were 169 persons on the secret blacklist, with most of these people settled in UK, Germany and Canada.

In the past five years, this is the third time that the blacklist has been screened and names deleted. The recent deletion of names from the Sikh blacklist is a result of an assurance given by PM Narendra Modi during his meeting with several separatist Sikh leaders in the UK in November 2015. When this meeting happened, the blacklist of Sikhs had only 43 names.

Sources in the government say that though there was an initial move to completely do away with this list, objections were raised by the Intelligence Bureau.

Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh has appealed to the Centre to scrap the blacklist fully so that those stranded overseas should reunite with their families here. He welcomed the removal of some names from the list that was prepared by various agencies. The Jathedar said the Sikh community due to the successive government’s adverse policies and many had been languishing in jails even after the lapse of their sentence.

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