NEW YORK (TIP): In a significant move, India has directed all its missions abroad to abolish local blacklists of asylum-seekers, according to a report published in Times of India.
It is a big relief to Persons of
Indian Origin (PIOs), mainly Sikhs, who have taken asylum in foreign countries
as this will help the asylum-takers get consular services including visa and OCI services at their local Indian missions, as
long as they are not on central black list approved by the home ministry.
of the beneficiaries will be asylees
hailing from Punjab who had taken asylum in countries like Canada and the US, citing fear of religious
pursuit back home during the crackdown on pro-Khalistan movement. They had been facing problems in getting visa
and OCI benefits in their respective Indian missions that maintain local
black lists comprising names of such asylum-takers in addition to the
central black list.
According to the report, the Modi government, acknowledging
the sensitivities of many Sikh asylum-takers and their family members who
have not been able to visit their native places or relatives even years after
the end of Sikh militancy, has now issued instructions to all
missions/posts abroad to abolish local black lists. The missions have been
asked to provide all asylees and their family members, whose names do not
figure in the central black list, consular services, including visa services
and OCI-related benefits. At the same time, it has directed the missions to
continue with the usual checks and due diligence in line with the existing
Sources said the decision reflects the recognition that many
of the asylum-seekers were in fact, economic migrants who were forced to
pass themselves off as victims of political persecution in order to escape
the bleak economic condition then back home.
The Indian Panorama reached out to Ambassador Sandeep Chakraborty,
Consul General of India in New York, to verify
the TOI report who said details and certain clarifications were awaited from
government of India.
Once, the picture is clear, he said, he will issue a press note. He also
indicated he may invite community leaders to inform them of India government’s revised policy with regard to providing
consular services to the asylees.