At Canada hearing, Babbar Khalsa man denies violence
A British Sikh man, who is facing deportation from Canada, admitted at an immigration hearing here that he was once part of the banned Babbar Khalsa terrorist group but said he never advocated violence.
Gurmej Singh Gill, who had held permanent residency of Canada in the early 1980s, arrived in Vancouver to visit relatives in late November and was to return to his home in the British city of Birmingham on December 22, the Globe and Mail reported.
But he was ordered to appear before an immigration and refugee board adjudicator due to his alleged link to the banned outfit. The hearing was being held to decide whether he should be admissible into Canada.
Gill said he was the prime minister in exile of the aspirational Sikh homeland of Khalistan, and added that his faction never advocated violence.
He also added that the British Babbar Khalsa, which he led from 1984 to 1992, did not engage in violence.
Gill said the British Babbar Khalsa was founded after the June 1984 Indian Army operation codenamed 'Operation Blustar' at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.
He said a few like-minded Sikhs got together and formed the organisation to demand justice.
Gill said that the group just wanted to make people aware about the existence of Babbar Khalsa groups in other countries through the media.
Geoff Rempel, the adjudicator of the case, reserved his decision and did not indicate when its ruling would be issued.
For years, Gill used the pseudonym Gurmej Singh Babbar and regularly visited British Columbia, where he once lived.
Babbar Khalsa was banned in Canada in 2003, years after it was linked to the June 23, 1985, Air India bombing that left 329 people dead off the Irish coast over the Atlantic.
Two men tied to the Babbar Khalsa were charged and later acquitted in the bombing, which remains Canada's deadliest act of terror.