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Sikh man resists deportation to India

A Sikh man from India, who has been denied refugee status in Canada, has refused to sign papers to facilitate his deportation.
By HT Correspondent | IANS, Toronto
UPDATED ON OCT 18, 2008 08:39 AM IST

A Sikh man from India, who has been denied refugee status in Canada, has refused to sign papers to facilitate his deportation.

According to reports, Manjit Singh Rattu, who entered Canada in 1995 and sought refugee status citing danger to his life in India, is currently lodged at the Calgary Remand Centre in Alberta before his deportation.

He was questioned by the police for clues to the killing of Punjabi journalist and Indo-Canadian Times founder-editor Tara Singh Hayer after his arrest in Toronto two years ago.

Hayer, who had agreed to testify as a witness in the 1985 Air India bombing trial, was shot dead at his home in November 1998 even before the trial could begin.

But Rattu's lawyer said his client has been cleared in the Hayer case, even as he faces other charges of lying and fraud, including use of stolen identities, during his stay in Canada since 1995.

Rattu appeared before the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board which has decided that he should remain in custody till his deportation to India.

But the deportation plan has run into a problem as Rattu's Indian passport has expired and he needs a fresh passport to travel back to India. Reports say Ratty has refused to sign the documents to get him a new Indian passport.

A Calgary-based newspaper reported that the Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) has contacted the Indian High Commission in Ottawa to get Rattu's travel documents without his consent.

It has also been revealed Rattu was once a permanent resident of the US. But since this status expired, the Americans are refusing to take him back.

His lawyer pleaded with the refugee board that Rattu should be conditionally freed so that he could seek revival of his US permanent residence status and return to the US. He said his client faced danger to his life he is deported to India.

"He is escaping from India to save his life," the paper quoted the lawyer as saying.

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