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India on Tuesday said that it has protested the Canadian government’s refusal last week to let a retired Indian government officer enter the country because he had served in India’s lead anti-insurgency force, the Central Reserve Police Force. Canadian immigration authorities had reportedly told Tejinder Singh Dhillon, a retired senior CRPF officer, that he was being turned back from Vancouver airport because he had served in a force that engages in “terrorism, systematic or gross human rights violations, or genocide”.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay said on Tuesday, “Such a characterisation of a reputed force like the CRPF is completely unacceptable. We have taken up the matter with the Government of Canada.”
Canadian envoy Nadir Patel expressed “regret” at the inconvenience caused and clarified that the language in the visa letter “does not reflect the Government of Canada’s policy towards India or any particular organisation, including the CRPF”.
Dhillon retired with the rank of inspector general of police from CRPF in 2010; he was head of the CRPF academy in Gurgaon.
Patel, the Canadian High Commissioner, said in a statement, “We are aware of media reports that an Indian national was denied entry to Canada, despite having had a valid visa. We regret any inconvenience that may have been experienced by this individual and their family. Canada’s privacy laws prevent me from commenting further.”
He said that Canada continues to welcome record numbers of Indian nationals for study, tourism, business and visiting friends and family. Over the past year, over 300,000 Indian nationals applied to visit Canada. “From time to time, with such a large number of applications, oversights on visa applications can happen which is regrettable. In situations where established procedures may not have been followed, a review takes place to avoid any recurrence,” he said.
“Form letters in use by the Government of Canada include generic language taken from Canada’s legislation. In this case, the language does not reflect the Government of Canada’s policy toward India or any particular organisation, including the Central Reserve Police Force of India. The CRPF plays an important role in upholding law and order in India,” the envoy said.