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From Germany to Kartarpur, with love

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Hardevender Singh had fled India fearing police brutality in 1986

Among the scores of NRIs who will be crossing over to Pakistan to visit the Kartarpur shrine with Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh on Saturday, is a German citizen who fled India fearing police brutality in 1986.

Hardevender Singh (56) was 23 years old when he escaped India with the help of an agent. Sikh militancy was it’s peak in mid-1980s and following Operation Blue Star at Gurudwara Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple in Amritsar, hundreds of Sikh youths fled the country.

Mr. Singh is among the 312 Indian-origin Sikhs whose names were recently removed from an “adverse list,” maintained by the Indian security agencies of Sikh youths who were influenced by Khalistani propaganda in the 1980s. The list prepared by the intelligence agencies was available with all Indian missions and it was a major roadblock in availing visas even for their family members who were not on the list.

Mr. Singh said this was the second time in 15 days that he was visiting India after a gap of 33 years. This time the invitation came from the Indian Embassy in Berlin.

“I cannot describe how good it feels to come back to the country I was born in,” Mr. Singh said.

Midnight knocks

He said he had no intention to flee India but was forced to do so as he was fed up of midnight knocks by police who accused him of sheltering Khalistani terrorists. “I was an electrician and was quite happy with my life. To escape police excesses I fled to Germany... sought asylum and was granted citizenship after a few years,” said Mr. Singh.

“I am glad the government invited me to be a part of the first official delegation to Kartarpur,” he said.

He was among 65 NRIs who have come here on the invitation of the Centre as part of the celebrations of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikh founder Guru Nanak Dev. They will be part of the delegation that will visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan on Saturday.

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2019 6:00:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/from-germany-to-kartarpur-with-love/article29924965.ece

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