Media reports from Canada said Tejinder Singh Dhillon, who retired as a CRPF IGP in 2010.
New Delhi: India has reacted sharply to the alleged denial of entry to a former CRPF officer of IGP rank from Punjab into Canada over allegations by the Canadian authorities that the paramilitary force he belonged to had “committed widespread and systemic human rights abuses, for example torture, arbitrary detention, murder and sexual assault”.
Increasingly worried over the clout separatist hardliners — advocating the cause of “Khalistan” — have over the Canadian government, India has strongly taken up the issue with Canada.
Most of these India-origin hardliners are now Canadian nationals.
“We have seen the news reports (from Canada) regarding denial of entry by the Canadian authorities to a senior retired Indian police officer. Such a characterisation of a reputed force like the CRPF is completely unacceptable. We have taken up the matter with the Government of Canada,” MEA spokesman Gopal Baglay said Tuesday.
In its response, Canada, while regretting the “inconvenience” faced by the former CRPF officer, hinted that it could be a case of “oversight” regarding visa application.
In a statement, Canadian high commissioner to India Nadir Patel said, “We are aware of media reports that an Indian national was denied entry to Canada despite having had a valid visa. We regret any inconvenience that may have been experienced by this individual and their family. Canada’s privacy laws prevent me from commenting further.”
The Canadian envoy added, “From time to time, with such a large number of applications, oversights on visa applications can happen which is regrettable. In situations where established procedures may not have been followed, a review takes place to avoid any reoccurrence.”
Media reports from Canada said Tejinder Singh Dhillon, who retired as a CRPF IGP in 2010, was denied entry at Vancouver airport as he had served with the force that, according to the Canadians, had “committed widespread and systemic human rights abuses”. A document given to Mr Dhillon at the airport reportedly said he was a “prescribed senior official in the service of a government that, in the opinion of the minister, engages or has engaged in terrorism, systematic or gross human rights violations, or genocide, a war crime or a crime against humanity”.
Mr Patel said, “Form letters in use by the Government of Canada include generic language taken from Canada’s legislation. In this case, the language does not reflect the Government of Canada’s policy toward India or any particular organisation, including the Central Reserve Police Force of India. The Central Reserve Police Force plays an important role in upholding law and order in India.”
According to media reports, the condemnation of India was removed in a second report issued by the immigration authorities at Vancouver airport who, however, still held Mr Dhillon could not be granted entry as he had served with the CRPF. The media report further said that in a phone conversation from Ludhiana, where Mr Dhillon returned after being denied entry, the former IGP said he had been travelling to Canada for over 30 years and had visited several times as a serving CRPF officer. He added that he had a Canadian visa issued in India valid till 2024.
This is the second such incident recently which India has taken up with Canada. A few days ago, New Delhi had had taken up Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s attendance at a Sikh community event in Toronto where some separatists were felicitated. “We have taken up such issues in the past with the Government of Canada, and in this particular instance, without getting into details, I can tell you the practice has not been discontinued,” the MEA spokesman added.