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Refusal of entry to AAP MLAs: High commission pursuing matter with Canada earnestly, says Sushma

The two MLAs were put on a flight back to India from Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier airport soon after they landed there on an Air Canada flight on July 21 this year.

punjab Updated: Aug 30, 2018 20:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
AAP,MLAs,Sushma
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj (HT File)

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has said the Indian high commission in Ottawa has taken up with the Canadian government the issue of denial of entry to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs Kultar Singh Sandhwan and Amarjit Singh Sandoa in the country, responding to a letter the Punjab Vidhan Sabha speaker, Rana KP Singh, wrote to her last month.

The two MLAs were put on a flight back to India from Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier airport soon after they landed there on an Air Canada flight on July 21 this year.

In her response, Swaraj said the high commission has sought details of the circumstances and reasons for “this deplorable action” by the Canadian immigration authorities.

“We take all matters pertaining to members of our legislative bodies very seriously. In fact, the moment I was apprised of the treatment meted out to the two AAP MLAs by the Canadian authorities, my office immediately contacted the high commissioner in Ottawa to ascertain the facts,” she said, assuring the speaker about following the matter scrupulously.

Sandhwan, grandnephew of former President Zail Singh, said he was visiting his sister Harpreet Gahla, who has been living in Canada for 13 years and Sandoa was accompanying him.

They, however, had denied reports about their detention and deportation, saying the problem occurred due to a communication gap with regard to the purpose of their visit.

‘Requisite political clearance not taken’

Swaraj said Indian diplomats in Canada were unaware of the visit of these two legislators since neither her ministry was informed of the visit nor requisite political clearance was sought. “I fully agree with you that elected members of our assemblies deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect whenever they travel abroad. The Canadian foreign office has sent the mission an interim response stating that ‘consultations with the Canadian Border Services Agency are ongoing to determine a comprehensive response’. Our mission will continue to pursue this issue with the Canadian side to ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future,” she said.

Speaker tells MLAs to follow procedure
  • The speaker has also advised all the MLAs to follow the prescribed procedure for their foreign visits, including obtaining political clearance from MEA and providing prior information to Indian missions abroad, even if they are on a private visit.

First Published: Aug 30, 2018 20:47 IST