Sukhbir’s Canada visit in doubt as NGO targets him over ‘rights violations’

Following reports that an NGO — the Canadian Sikh Coalition (CSC) — has demanded a review and cancellation of their visas,there is uncertainty over Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and state DGP Sumedh Saini’s impending visit to Canada

Written by Chitleen K Sethi | Chandigarh | Updated: April 8, 2014 5:57 pm

Following reports that an NGO — the Canadian Sikh Coalition (CSC) — has demanded a review and cancellation of their visas,there is uncertainty over Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and state DGP Sumedh Saini’s impending visit to Canada.

Established in 2008,the CSC is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) representing over 50 Sikh gurdwaras and societies. In a communication to the Canadian Immigration and Citizen minister Chris Alexander,It has demanded a “review and cancellation” of the duo’s visas on the grounds that they are in violation of ENF 18 Section 7,through which those responsible for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” are barred entry into Canada. It is the same section under which Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was refused entry on a petition filed by the Muslim League.

Pro-Khalistan Sikh organisations in Canada are also likely to take legal measures against Sukhbir and Saini by accusing them of human rights violations. The move has sent the government in a tizzy and Sukhbir is learnt to have discussed the issue at great length with several top legal experts in Chandigarh. No final decision,however,has been taken on the matter. Sukhbir is set to attend the Canada India Agriculture and Food Processing Forum 2012 at Vancouver on September 10-11 and later in Saskatoon,Saskatchewan,on September 12-13.

Sukhbir’s visit also faces a threat from Sikhs for Justice,a US-based organisation,that had last year filed a case for alleged human rights violation against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during his visit to Milwaukee,where he had gone to meet families of the victims of the Wisconsin Sikh gurdwara shooting. The filing of the court case had marred the chief minister’s visit. The case was finally dismissed in May this year after it was established that summons had been delivered to the wrong person. The SFJ has recently offered $20,000 award for serving fresh summons the Badal,who then cancelled his visit to USA last month to attend the wedding of his minister’s son.

Reports on the internet suggest that the SFJ,which has recently opened a branch in Canada,would now seek Sukhbir and Saini’s arrest if they visit Canada. These reports add that the SFJ is preparing to make a “citizen’s arrest” and present them in the courts as defendants. They also state that human rights activists have offered to arrest Sukhbir and Saini for their alleged role in supporting those who were involved in extra judicial killings of Sikh youths in Punjab during militancy days.

In the light of these developments the Punjab NRI leaders in Canada have also suggested that Sukhbir cancel his visit and should instead be represented by a senior IAS officer. Sukhbir had cancelled his visit to Canada last year following information that there would be legal action against him.

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