A DAY after the Ministry of External Affairs took up the issue of Canadian immigration authorities refusing to let a retired CRPF officer into the country, the Canadian High Commission on Wednesday issued a fresh visa and arranged for his return ticket. Tejinder Singh Dhillon, the officer who was turned back from Vancouver on May 18, told The Indian Express on Wednesday that he would fly out later in the night, attend a family wedding in Toronto on May 26 and 27, and fly back with his wife on May 29.
Dhillon said he got a call from the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi on Tuesday — officials there “apologised” and told him to get there on Wednesday. “Today, they gave me a fresh visa and arranged for my return ticket,” Dhillon said. He said he had last gone to Canada in 2012, and in all has visited the country on 10 occasions, but never faced such harassment. Canadian envoy Nadir Patel had on Tuesday expressed “regret” at the inconvenience caused.
Canadian immigration authorities had reportedly told Dhillon he was being turned back because he had served in a force that engages in “terrorism, systematic or gross human rights violations, or genocide”. “I was singled out…. Officers of the Canadian Border Service Agency questioned me for more than six hours after we landed in Vancouver in the afternoon. The questioning continued the next day as well,” Dhillon told The Indian Express on Wednesday. “While alleging human rights violations, they (immigration officials) questioned me about Operation Bluestar (against Khalistani extremists in Amritsar) and about Kashmir,” Dhillon said. “I told them I was more than 1,000 km away (from Amritsar) when Operation Bluestar took place — I was posted at Madhya Pradesh at the time,” he said.
Dhillon said he had served with Punjab Police on deputation from the CRPF, and was at the Punjab Police Academy at Phillaur in Jalandhar as a Superintendent of Police and was DIG in the Punjab Armed Police. He claimed immigration officials in Vancouver appeared “oblivious to the ground realities” and had “misconceptions about the force”.
After immigration authorities told him repeatedly that he was “inadmissible in Canada”, Dhillon said he requested them to allow his wife to enter. “They allowed her and I took a flight to India on May 20. I was home — in Ludhiana — on May 22. Yesterday, I got a call from Canadian High Commission,” he said.