Canada on Tuesday expressed regret over denial of entry to a retired Indian police officer on the ground that the Indian government engages in “terrorism, systematic or gross human rights violations, or genocide” after India took up the matter.
“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 High Commissioner to India Nadir Patel said in a statement.
“Canada’s privacy laws prevent me from commenting further,” he added.
Earlier in a briefing, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said: “We have seen the news report regarding denial of entry by Canadian authorities to a senior retired Indian police officer,” in response to a question.
“Such a characterisation of a reputed force like the CRPF is completely unacceptable,” he said.
“We have taken up the matter with the Government of Canada.”
According to a report in the Hindustan Times, Tejinder Singh Dhillon, who retired with the rank of Inspector General of Police from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in 2010, was declared inadmissible under a subsection of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
The report cited a document given to Dhillon at the airport that stated 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”.
In his statement, Patel, who is himself of Indian origin, noted that Canada continued to welcome record numbers of Indians for study, tourism, business, and visiting friends and family and that “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 (sic),” he said, adding that form letters used by the Canadian government “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,” he said, adding the CRPF “plays an important role in upholding law and order in India”.
This is the latest incident that has put India-Canada bilateral relations under a lot of stress.
Last month the Ontario Assembly in Canada passed a motion that recognises the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in India that killed over 2,500 people, as genocide.
The motion, which was passed 35 to 5 on April 6, was moved by Harinder Malhi, an MP of Indian origin from Brampton-Springdale district.