Sikh groups complain to Canadian authorities about Amarinder’s visit

  • Anirudh Bhattacharyya, Hindustan Times, Toronto
  • Updated: Apr 23, 2016 00:55 IST
Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh’s plans to hold political meetings in Toronto. (PTI file photo)

Hours after Canada’s foreign ministry conveyed its disapproval of Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh’s plans to hold political meetings in Toronto and Vancouver, a Sikh group has filed complaints with Canadian agencies over his visit.

The pro-Khalistan Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar (Canada East) has asked Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Canadian Border Security Agency to examine Singh’s application for a Canadian visa.

In a statement, its president Sukhminder Singh Hansra said, “Had Captain Amrinder Singh stated the purpose, which was/is to drum up political support or fund-raising for his party for 2017 Punjab election, the visa officer would have refused visitor visa, because Canada does not allow any foreign political party to hold a election rally in Canada.”

While the Indian Overseas Congress’ Canadian unit has stressed no fund-raising activity was ever on the agenda, Singh’s meetings in Toronto and Vancouver were related to the Punjab Assembly elections due next year.

Two key events that were scheduled, including a meeting in Toronto on Saturday, were cancelled after the Canadian government sent a letter to India’s high commissioner Vishnu Prakash. The contents of the letter were communicated by the foreign secretary to Singh, currently in Chicago.

In its complaints, Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar called on Canadian agencies handling the entry of foreigners to ascertain the details of Singh’s visa application before allowing him into the country.

In an emailed complaint to IRCC, the group claimed Singh’s “arrival is causing concerns in the Sikh community. There might be a protest on Saturday at the event.”

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