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Jassi Kangura at Ludiana, March. 02, 2010



Union Entry Black List: ensure no injustice or violation of fundamental human right

Ludhiana, March 02, 2010

Jassi Khangura MLA


Hon. Dr Manmohan Singh Ji,

Prime Minister of India

New Delhi

The recent statements that Sikh fundamentalists maybe regrouping, albeit in small numbers inside and outside the country, is a cause of concern to all of us. Punjab and India cannot afford a return to the dark days of militancy of the 1980s and 1990s.

It is critical at this juncture that the actions of this Union Government do not in any way unjustly treat Sikhs and provide them with the political ammunition that they have now been lacking for nearly 2 decades.

Having just returned from a tour of the USA, Canada and the UK, I have received numerous complaints regarding the subject matter. There is a danger that resentment may be rising and it is, therefore, critical that these issues be addressed promptly to deny an opportunity to those living outside India who seek to reintroduce turbulence to Punjab.

The entire Black List needs to be pragmatically reviewed. Not only does this list feature a disproportionate number of Sikhs but many have been listed for a large number of years during which time the circumstances, both here and abroad, have changed. Many Sikhs have been added to the list based on potentially spurious allegations.

As the original assessment of risk at the time of inclusion of any name on this list may have significantly changed in the intervening years it is now critical that there be a fresh risk assessment of every Sikh name featuring on this list.

It is also fundamentally unjust that persons featuring on the Black List are neither made aware of the issues that necessitated their inclusion nor are they offered any opportunity to plead their case. This must change. As a start please consider the following:

  • The Black List must be made accessible under the provisions of the Right to Information Act, if not in full then at least to the extent that individuals may clarify their inclusion in the list or otherwise. This would prevent the gross injustice against persons issued visas by our foreign missions being denied entry on arrival in India.

  • All persons issued visas by our foreign missions but denied access on arrival in India must be compensated for they are not responsible for the inefficiencies and incompetences that prevent effective communication between the Union Home Ministry and the Ministry for External Affairs.

  • Provide persons featuring on the list with the principal reason for their inclusion. Specifics may be withheld but at least the category of offence or allegation should be made available. In those cases where fuller explanations can be provided without compromising the paramount interests of national security, these must be made available to the affected persons.

  • Introduce an appeals process, preferably through an Appellate Authority, in order that affected persons are treated equitably. The right of appeal is a fundamental human right and must not be denied to any person of Indian origin. Intra-departmental appeals rarely provide justice but an equitable appellate process through an independent Appellate Authority will remove almost all of the injustices that exist today.

  • Enable legislation that would allow ultimate appeals to be determined by the courts. Whilst the mandarins of the Home Ministry and the officials of our intelligence agencies are not doubt competent persons they are, like all human beings, liable to err. It is also not inconceivable in today’s India that vested interests, not least the Punjab police, may have lobbied these very decision making officials for the inclusion of particular names to deny the affected persons their property rights in India. That is why the right of an ultimate judicial appeal must be made available to every person featuring in the Black List.

  • Many Sikh NRIs featuring on the Black List are victims of the police-led Punjab land mafia. Thousands of crores of NRI land and property assets in rural and urban Punjab have been usurped by the Punjab Police by fabricating evidence, recording false statements and filing false FIRs with the objective of adding names to the Union Black List.

  • Allow Sikhs abroad who may have earlier made secessionist demands an opportunity to submit an affidavit rejecting these views and to swear allegiance to the Constitution on India. If this country can allow persons like Mr Prakash Singh Badal, who having insulted the Constitution outside of Parliament and now holds High Office without even a morsel of apology for earlier actions, then surely we must not exclude from India those persons that are now prepared to reject their earlier views.

  • Many NRI Sikh media persons feature on the Black List on the basis of statements that they are alleged to have made in the past. The reality of the flight of tens of thousands of Sikhs from Punjab in the 1980s and 1990s is that many that claimed to be the victims of police atrocities whereas in reality they were economic migrants. Equally, many others were in fact the real victims of such atrocities and held significant grievances. NRI Punjabi media had no option but to cater to their concerns. Time has been a great healer. Views have changed. This Government should not alienate NRI Punjabi media further.
  • Sikhs on the Black List fall into three categories:

  • a. Those involved today in organisational activities outside of India that are designed to cause harm within India. These persons must remain excluded.

  • b. Those that earlier were coerced or compelled into militant actions or statements, for whatever reason, but who have now rejected their earlier stance. We must be prepared to give them a second chance.

  • c. Those that have never been involved directly or indirectly in militancy or in the promotion of succession but who now find themselves the victims of spurious allegations, often submitted by envious neighbours abroad and readily recorded by some of our not-so-intelligent officials in our foreign missions. These injustices must be removed.

  • We cannot prejudice peace and security anywhere in India. That is why in the light of reports of increasing Sikh militant activities, both inside and outside the country, and the frequent seizures of explosives and ammunition in Punjab, we cannot risk alienating innocent Sikhs abroad any further.

    Having spent almost all my life overseas I have a better understanding of Sikh NRI sentiments than I have of our complex bureaucratic processes that compose and edit the Black List. Sikh NRI secessionist tendencies have subsided from a peak in the early 1990’s. The timely redressal of genuine Sikh NRI grievances at this juncture will ensure that these views are not allowed to rise again.

    The Black List includes numerous injustices. We must urgently start the process for its review and concurrently the revision of the related statute, policies and procedures.