Indian-origin UK mayor happy at removal from India blacklist | world | Hindustan Times
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Indian-origin UK mayor happy at removal from India blacklist

world Updated: Apr 26, 2010 21:00 IST

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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."