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"Canada Quashes Black List of 22 Sikhs"

Could this news item have been any more propagandist and devoid of meaningful detail? How could the list, prepared by India to prevent Sikh Canadians from entering its shores, have been repealed by Canada? How did the recently appointed Bhisham Agnihotri, "whose main qualification is that he is a darling of the R.S.S." (Inder Malhotra, The Hindu, August 21, 2002) and "a partisan political figure" (C. Raja Mohan, The Hindu, August 28, 2001), manage this? Malhotra adds that Agnihotri, "though in charge only of the Indian Diaspora, has always been projected as equal to the Indian Ambassador in Washington. . . . [I]n the quest for diplomatic immunity, Mr. Agnihotri insists that he would give up the coveted [Green] card provided the Indian Government can persuade the U.S. administration to 'guarantee' that the card would be restored to him when needed!" Finally, note that Agnihotri and Calcutta both have "honorary" titles - euphemisms, perhaps, for political appointments?

The Tribune, Amritsar (Punjab, India), Aug. 30, 2003

In a significant development that would fulfil a long-standing demand of the Sikhs after 'Operation Bluestar,' the 'black list' of Sikhs prepared in 1984 was quashed in Canada due to the efforts of Dr. Bhisham Agnihotri, an American of Indian origin. This was stated by Mr. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers and Mr. Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary chief secretary, S.G.P.C., in a statement issued here today. The information was given to them via e-mail by Mr. Raghbir Singh Bains, president, Sikh Education Society, Canada, and patron, Encyclopaedia of Sikhism.

The 'black list' was prepared soon after 'Operation Bluestar' during the tenure of then Prime Minister Ms. Indira Gandhi enlisting 22 Sikhs alleged to be militants all of whom were Canadian citizens. The list was prepared to debar these Sikhs, allegedly indulging in terrorist activities from abroad, from entering into India apprehending that they could create trouble. The new development would now allow all Canadian Sikhs to seek visas for India without fear of being arrested. In a statement issued today the S.G.P.C. also gave credit of quashing the 'black list' to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. L.K. Advani, for his perusal of the matter and unstinted support.