The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday said that it had removed the names of 312 Sikhs of Indian origin from an “adverse list”, and only two individuals remained on the list, PTI reported, citing officials. This would allow them to apply for Indian visas and visit the country.

During the separatist movement in the 1980s, some Sikhs left India to avoid being arrested and became foreign nationals, an unidentified ministry official told PTI. “They were placed in the blacklist till 2016, making them ineligible to avail visa services to visit or return to India,” the official said.

The Central Adverse List was prepared by the intelligence agencies and was available with various Indian missions abroad. Apart from making those on the list ineligible for visas, it also hampered the chances of their family members.

“Consequently, all Indian missions/posts abroad have been advised to grant appropriate visa to all categories of asylees and derivative asylees [family members] whose names do not figure in the Central Adverse List, in line with the procedure followed for other categories of applicants of that nationality,” the official said.

The official added that Sikhs mentioned in the list could eventually apply for registration as Overseas Citizens of India after they have applied for and held normal visas for a period of two years.

The review of the list was said to be a “continuous and dynamic process”, and part of a regular exercise. “Such a review will afford an opportunity to such Sikh foreign nationals to visit India, meet their family members and reconnect to their roots,” the official said.

The Sikhs who were blacklisted have been mostly living in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Germany, Hindustan Times reported. It mostly included the names of those who promoted the cause of Khalistan and former militants.

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