New Delhi, April 21: The Centre has acceded to the Punjab government's request to open a passport office in Nawanshahr town and also look into the issue of blacklisted Sikh youths settled abroad, official sources said.
The issues came up for discussion when Chief Minister Amarinder Singh paid a courtesy call on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Delhi on Friday to inquire after her health in view of her recent kidney transplant.
Swaraj also promised all possible efforts by the Centre to ensure safety and security of Punjabis and Sikhs living abroad, a state government spokesman said.
The passport office in Nawanshahr to facilitate Non-Resident Indians as well as others from the region will be in addition to the one in Patiala, which is set to be inaugurated soon, he said.
The Chief Minister expressed concern over the delay in removing the names of Sikh youths put on the central government's blacklist for their alleged involvement in subversive or anti-India activities during and after the Khalistan movement in Punjab during the 80s and 90s.
These youths can't visit/return to India due to their names being on the blacklist.
Swaraj said she will take up the issue with the Home Ministry, which was in the process of gradually pruning the list.
Update: 21 April, 2017