A court in Canada’s Toronto will hear a case against the visiting retired CRPF Inspector General Tejinder Singh Dhillon “on the charges of torture” on May 29, the day Dhillon is scheduled to return to India. A press release by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) said that its director of international policy Jatinder Singh Grewal appeared before the Justice of Peace in Toronto from their side and laid down the allegations of “torture against Dhillon on the basis of a victim’s affidavit”.
US-based SFJ’s legal adviser Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, when contacted over phone, identified the “victim” as Inderjit Singh. Pannun said Inderjit was a resident of a village around Jalandhar but refused to disclose where Inderjit was at this point of time. He said the complaint was about the force under the command of Dhillon which “tortured” the victim, but conceded that Dhillon himself “did not directly torture the victim”.
Dhillon was denied entry into Canada on May 18 after he landed there with his wife from Frankfurt. Authorities in Canada justified their decision saying he had served in a force that engaged in “terrorism, systematic or gross human rights violation, or genocide”. While his wife was allowed to enter Canada, Dhillon had to return to India. Later, Canadian High Commission regretted the incident and issued a fresh visa and arranged for free return ticket for Dhillon on May 24 to enable him attend wedding function of his niece in Toronto.
“The Criminal Code of Canada section 7(3.7) grants extra-territorial jurisdiction to Canadian courts to prosecute foreign officials for torture committed outside when that official is present in Canada,” a statement by SFJ said. Pannun said, “We are approaching Canada Border Services Agency and other authorities concerned in Canada to request them that Dhillon should not be allowed to return to India pending request with the court to issue Dhillon’s arrest warrant.
Dhillon served as Superintendent of Police at Punjab Police Academy at Phillaur and as DIG at Punjab Armed Police during his stint with Punjab Police. Dhillon has maintained he was associated with training of the police force and never indulged in any rights violations.