An Indian Canadian serving in the country's air force is fighting to get visas to enable his India-based parents visit their ailing grandson.
Deepak Sharma, a corporal posted at the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) at Trenton in Ontario, applied twice - in March and May - for visas for his parents, Ashok Sharma and Renu Sharma, so that they could visit Canada to see their two-year-old grandson Akarsh, who is suffering from a rare genetic disorder. He was turned down both times.
The Toronto Star quoted Sharma, 33, and a father of three, as saying: "I'm not trying to do anything illegal. I risk my life to go to the frontline so many times for Canada. In return, my son is sick and has no rights to be seen by his grandparents."
A C-130 Hercules mechanic, Sharma is a 10-year air force veteran and has served in Afghanistan and Libya.
According to the Star report, the visa office in the Canadian consulate in the Indian city of Chandigarh has rejected Sharma's applications citing his parents' lack of travel history abroad, family ties in Canada and 'purpose of visit' as reasons to believe they would not leave the country after their visit.
Sharma's father, who runs a hotel in Ludhiana city in India's Punjab state, reportedly has a busy schedule and hardly gets to travel.
Sharma said his parents wanted to see Akarsh, who has been diagnosed with a genetic disorder that causes developmental delay and impairment, and potentially paralysis if the condition deteriorates.
"My son has this very rare disorder. We have to travel a lot to Montreal, Kingston and Toronto for his medical appointments," he said.
"We just want some support from my parents."
Sharma, who takes his family to India once every two years, says he is baffled as to why his parents are being denied visas when the reason for the visit is to see their ailing grandson.
Meanwhile, both Akarsh's physician, Julie Bryson, and Sharma's captain at CFB Trenton, Chinedu Chukwu, have written to the Canadian consulate in Chandigarh to grant the visas for his parents.
"Given the nature of the terminal illnesses this family has to deal with, I think that the family will benefit immensely from the presence and support of Deepak's immediate family (parents)," the Star reported cited Chukwu as writing to the consulate.
"This is a compassionate circumstance, and I am sure that any support you may offer this family will be truly appreciated, since it will provide them with the emotional support they need throughout this period."
A Canadian Citizenship and Immigration spokesperson was quoted as telling the Star that the details of the matter couldn't be discussed because the required consent form from the family was incomplete.