Chidambaram asks Sikhs to forget 1984 riots

Chidambaram asks Sikhs to forget 1984 riots

Its time we built a new India, says Home Minister

“It is time that we moved on to build a new India where every citizen irrespective of faith has equal place,” he said at a function organised to felicitate him for his efforts in removing names of 142 Sikhs from a “black list.”

Most of the names were included during the long-drawn Sikh militancy of the 80s with several Sikh extremist leaders operating from Pakistan, the US and Canada. The list was recently pruned down to a minimum by the home ministry which would, among other things, allow these Sikhs to return home. “For a Sikh living anywhere in the world, India is the homeland, India is the home. Therefore, whenever any Sikh from anywhere in the world returns to his home, its our duty to welcome him to India,” the minister said.

According to sources, there are still over 20 Sikhs on the immigration black list.

Recalling the period when the then prime minister Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards, Chidambaram said the country has moved on since then and one small step of removing the names of Sikhs from the black list was left which has been addressed by the government recently. “We have moved on when Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister, we have moved on subsequently, we have moved on when Manmohan Singh made that poignant speech asking for forgiveness, we moved on since Sonia Gandhi became Congress president,” he said.

The minister was referring to Singh’s speech in Parliament in 2005 where he apologised to the Sikh community for the incident.

He said the government would initiate all possible steps to address the grievances of the Sikh community. The government would issue orders “shortly” to help Sikhs who have returned from Afghanistan following violence in the neighbouring country. He said difficulties in Sikhs getting visa to visit Nankana Sahib in Pakistan was also being looked into.

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