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Convicted Khalistani terrorist Atwal travelled to India on valid visa: MEA

Jaspal Atwal, who was part of the Khalistan movement, was convicted for the attempted murder of Punjab minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu in 1986 in Canada.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2018 20:26 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Jaspal Atwal,Khalistani terrorist,Convicted Khalistani terrorist
Jaspal Atwal, right, listens to his lawyer Rishi T. Gill during a news conference in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia,on March, 8, 2018.(AP Photo)

Convicted Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal had travelled to India on a valid visa, the external affairs ministry said on Friday.

Though Atwal’s presence at an event for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his India visit created a furore, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the government has a conscious policy of reaching out to the Indian Diaspora, including misguided elements, who in the past may have harboured anti-India sentiments which they have since renounced.

“Jaspal Atwal has travelled to India on a valid visa. This was not his first visit to India. He has visited the country on earlier occasions since January 2017,” Kumar said.

Read | Former Sikh militant apologises for causing embarrassment to Trudeau in India

There are well established procedures for grant of visa to foreign travellers which have been followed in this case as well, he added.

While Atwal attended an event in Mumbai where Trudeau and his wife were also present, invitation to him for a dinner at the Canadian High Commission here was withdrawn after strong reactions in New Delhi.

Atwal, who was part of the Khalistan movement, was convicted for the attempted murder of Punjab minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu in 1986 in Canada.

Atwal, meanwhile, has apologised for the “embarrassment” he caused to Trudeau and India by attending the event during in Mumbai and asserted that he no longer supported the Sikh independence movement.

First Published: Mar 09, 2018 20:26 IST