New York: Sikh community leaders from the United States and Canada shared Saturday evening ideas with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on how they could work together on matters relating to Punjab.
They raised with him issues relating to consular matters, some of which were common to all overseas Indians, said Syed Akbaruddin, the External Affairs Ministry spokesman.
But he added that there were also issues specific to them when they wanted to go back to India and the leaders gave Modi a petition about the problems. Some issues related to those who had left India in the wake of 1984 riots. Others related to those who did not have their passports and wanted their eligibility to travel back reinstated even though documentary evidence is not available. Modi told them that he will have the matters looked into by the concerned authorities.
Before the meeting, Jasdip Singh, president of the South Asian Democratic Caucus, told IANS that an issue troubling Sikhs overseas is the plight of those who had sought asylum abroad in the 1980s and 1990s "because the situation was so bad in Punjab and today cannot go back" since they received asylum. He said they would ask Modi to intervene and resolve the problem.
Akbaruddin said Modi told them that he was very proud of the contributions that the Sikhs had made in India, especially to Indian security.