South Asian Observer - Top Story Canada’s Visa Flip-Flop: First Denies Visa to Ex-CRPF Official Tajinder Singh Dhillonw Then Gives Him Visa Along With Free Air Ticket
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Canada’s Visa Flip-Flop: First Denies Visa to Ex-CRPF Official Tajinder Singh Dhillonw Then Gives Him Visa Along With Free Air Ticket
( May 25 2017 )
In a major flip-flop Canada government takes decision and then, realizing its blunder goes a step further to placate India. Canada government first refused entry to Ex-CRPF official Tajinder Singh Dhillon when he landed at Vancouver airport and sent him packing citing poor human rights record of CRPF of India. And, then when Indian government raised its strong concerns on the matter, the Canadian government not only granted Dhillon visa, but also, a free air ticket. Terming it an incident that had 'happened at a lower level' and admitting that 'ďt shouldn't have happened', the Canadian High Commission restored the visa of retired Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) official Tejinder Singh Dhillon who was denied entry into Canada a few days back. Significantly, while issuing a fresh visa to Dhillon, the Canadian High Commission also stamped the earlier “Cancelled” visa with a stamp that stated “Cancelled Without Prejudice”. In another gesture to salvage the situation that had the potential to erupt into a diplomatic row, the High Commission also provided an air ticket to Dhillon to travel to Toronto where he was originally supposed to go attend a wedding when he was denied entry into Canada. Dhillon, who retired from the CRPF as an Inspector General in 2010, was declared inadmissible under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act with the Vancouver airport immigration authorities maintaining that he could not be granted entry since he was part of the CRPF which “committed widespread and systemic human rights abuses, for example torture, arbitrary detention, murder, and sexual assault.” Speaking Dhillon to media in Delhi where he has gone to meet the Canadian High Commission officials—said, “The incident which happened in Vancouver was very unfortunate. I tried to keep my cool and I was very confident because I knew I had nothing against me. But when they tried to accuse my organisation and the country of being involved in such things, I told them that I did not agree with their allegations. I felt offended about it because it affected my organisation and my country.” Appreciating the role of the Indian government in taking up the matter with the Canada government, Dhillon added that he also appreciated the Canada government for the prompt action they took in the matter. “They repeatedly told me that they deeply apologise for what had happened. They also added that this happened at a lower level, and that it shouldn't have happened,” he said. Asked about the circumstances that led to his ordeal in Canada, Dhillon blamed it squarely on the newly created Canada Border Service Agency. “They are all young people. I don't think they are much experienced and probably they don't know how to conduct themselves. But their powers are supreme and they are misusing their powers.” “The system needs to be screened, they need to be more educated, they need to respect the dignity of every human being who enters in Canada,” he added. Dhillon said that he had been assured by the Canadian authorities that a “strong call” will be taken on this to ensure that “such things do not happen”. I told them I have a spotless career. I have a President's Police Medal for distinguished service,” Dhillon said adding that since he had served for CRPF which is accused with such charges, they felt that he should not have continued with that force. “In fact, one of the problems they had was that not only did I continue with CRPF but also earned promotions by virtue of helping the force complete its tasks,” he added. How did matters unfold? Dhillon said his wife and him were pulled aside for questioning during the initial immigration check. He said the questioning lasted for 7 hours and only ended after his friend, a former Liberal Party politician intervened. He was granted a 12 hour respite and allowed to go to his friend's house, but questioning resumed in the morning following which he was deported. Dhillon returned to Ludhiana and told the media that he had been traveling to Canada for over 30 years and even did so while he was a serving officer of the CRPF. He added that he was granted a visa by the Canadian government, which was valid until 2024. He said he was questioned for 7 hours in an "unreasonable and indecent manner." India-Canada: Indo-Canadian ties under strain? Indo-Canadian ties have been marred by friction recently after the Ontario Assembly became the first legislature in Canada to carry a motion that described the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as "genocide." Indian External affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said "We reject this misguided motion which is based on a limited understanding of India." India also took up the matter with the Canadian government.
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