Canadian Defence Minister Sajjan at home in Hoshiarpur village, to stay overnight

A decorated jeep was also kept ready for him so that he could travel on it and greet people, but due to security reasons, he was not allowed to alight from his official vehicle arranged by the Canadian High Commission.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar | Published:April 21, 2017 5:31 am
Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, left, and his Ukrainian counterpart, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, meet to discuss the Canada-Ukraine defense relationship on Monday, April 3, 2017, at National Defence Headquarters. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan Thursday visited his native village of Bambeli in Hoshiarpur district, where he was given a hero-like welcome though the villagers complained about not being able to interact with him for security reasons. Sajjan was supposed to address them, but could not, allegedly because of poor security arrangements by Punjab police.

The minister reached the village entrance around 3.30 pm. From there, a procession of bhangra dancers and a band party accompanied him to the village gurudwara, around a kilometre away. A decorated jeep was also kept ready for him so that he could travel on it and greet people, but due to security reasons, he was not allowed to alight from his official vehicle arranged by the Canadian High Commission. It took 15-20 minutes for his vehicle to reach the village gurudwara, where he paid obeisance.

After this, he was supposed to address the people waiting for him since morning at a nearby venue where a small tent was put up. However, due to chaos all around, the Canadian High Commission staff did not allow him to enter the venue, leading him away to his home in the village. The police and other officials said they had no instructions from the government on Sajjan’s visit and that they had come here just as part of a a general protocol.

“We waited for him for 5-6 hours just to catch a glimpse, but we could not just because there was no proper security arrangement by the Punjab government,” a villager said. Manjider Singh of Rampura village was seen complaining loudly about the poor arrangement and offered to book a palace if the locals could convince the minister to address them. At Sajjan’s ancestral home, his octogenarian parents, father Kundan Singh and mother Vidya Devi, were waiting for him. Kundan Singh said he was very happy his son could make it today despite his busy schedule. Sajjan’s parents also live in Canada and had come here 2-3 months back after a gap of two years. The minister was supposed to stay overnight at his house in Bambeli.

Visit to orphanage in Jalandhar

Sajjan visited Unique, a home for orphan girl children, on Thursday noon where he spent nearly two hours with around 60 inmates.

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