Punjab Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh postponed his visit to Canada, which was to commence on Saturday, as he awaited the outcome of the hearing of a case filed against him in a court in Toronto.
The case was filed by hardline activist group, Sikhs for Justice, alleging that a resident of Canada had been subjected to torture while Singh was Punjab’s chief minister.
Singh — who was in Chicago — decided to delay his visit till an order was issued in the case and said he considered this to be a “straight case of harassment”.
He also said he would catch a flight to Toronto “subject to the court’s decision.” The case of the private prosecution filed before a Justice of Peace in the Ontario Court of Justice commenced on Saturday morning with an examination of documents submitted to ascertain whether those were adequate and if they fell within the Canadian law.
After that process, a pre-enquete or evidentiary hearing started before another Justice to see if there was enough evidence of torture charges to issue a summons or an arrest warrant against the former Punjab CM.
Singh refuted the charges, saying his tenure as chief minister was the “most peaceful time in the state, it was considered a golden period.” He said he had ensured the remission of sentences to many who were jailed in cases relating to the Khalistan movement.
In a statement, SFJ’s legal advisor Gurpatwant Pannun said, “With information (sic) in hand, there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that during Capt Amarinder’s tenure as chief minister of Punjab, there was systematic torture of Sikh nationalists who are campaigning peacefully for an independent Khalistan.”