UK mayor delighted at removal from India blacklist

Joginder Bal, the Indian-origin mayor of Slough in Berkshire in the UK, is delighted that the Indian government has removed him from a "blacklist" of alleged Khalistan activists, enabling him to visit India after years.

Last Updated: Apr 26, 2010, 19:06 PM IST

London: Joginder Bal, the Indian-origin
mayor of Slough in Berkshire in the UK, is delighted that the
Indian government has removed him from a "blacklist" of
alleged Khalistan activists, enabling him to visit India after
years.

Bal, who earlier this month visited Punjab, had been
deported from the Amritsar airport in 2007 because his name
was on the "blacklist" of people who were involved in
anti-national activities in the 1980s.

A recent review of the "blacklist" has led to his
removal. He told the Slough media on his return from India:
"I had dreamt of going back to India many times before, but
every time I was turned back.

It was hard for me, and it was all because I had
taken part in demonstrations in Punjab."

He added: "I`m so pleased the Government have
reviewed the list, it is great news for me and other Sikhs
like me. I really enjoyed my time out there."

Bal was reportedly welcomed in Punjab by local
dignitaries and was invited to various local events.

However, he was caught up in the chaos caused by
volcano ash and the closure of airports in the UK while
returning here.

His flight was forced to land in Frankfurt where he
stayed the night before taking a 14-hour coach trip back to
London.

He arrived on Saturday in time to join over 10,000
Sikhs celebrating Vaisakhi in Slough on Sunday.

He said: "I was very lucky to be able to get back, I
feel sorry for those people who are still stranded.

It is particularly difficult for the elderly and
people with young children."

PTI