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Canadian High Commission seeks meeting with Sukhbir

The Commission’s request follows a meeting between a Canadian diplomat and Punjab officials last week.

Written by Express News Service | Jalandhar | Updated: April 8, 2014 4:11:25 pm

Even as the Dal Khalsa on Thursday claimed that the Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has lied that the the Canadian government denied him security for his trip to the country in September,the Canadian High Commission has sought a meeting with Sukhbir over the issue.

The Commission’s request follows a meeting between a Canadian diplomat and Punjab officials last week. This comes after Sukhbir announced that he will not go to Canada as the government there would not provide him due security and protocol.

However,Dal Khalsa Spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh on Thursday quoted Jean-Bruno Villeneuve — spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs,Trade and Development in Canada — as saying: “We never received a formal request for security,so such a request could not have been refused.”

Taking Sukhbir to task,the organisation has asked him to step down on moral grounds for allegedly bluffing and misleading the people.

Sukhbir had decided not to go to Canada following a communication from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA),which stated that security cover by Royal Canadian Mounted Police is provided only to “international protectees” recognised by the Canadian government. These generally include only the Prime Minister and the President. The MEA communication — dated August 6 — added that the experience of the Indian government has been that the Canada had refused protection to Union cabinet ministers even when specifically sought.

The letter further said that the Canadian government will not be able to stop any processions that might take place against Sukhbir during his visit.

“The Canadian High Commission in New Delhi and the Canadian Foreign Office has made it clear that the Canadian government will not provide any immunity whatsoever to Badal in case he his roped into a civil suit there,” it added.

The MEA letter was in response to a meeting of Punjab and MEA officials — held in July — regarding Sukhbir’s visit to the country. At this meeting,Punjab officials had raised various concerns regarding the visit in September. The diplomatic note about the visit — which is considered to be the formal request for security and protocol — had also been sent to the Union Ministry of Home and MEA by the Punjab government in the first week of August.

The Dal Khalsa,however,claimed no formal request was sent by the MEA to Canada. “Let Sukhbir clarify his position and reveal the real reason behind his cancellation of the trip. The real reason for cancellation is the fear of litigation and possible detention by Canadian legal system. Security concern was a mere smoke screen,” said Kanwar Pal Singh.

Sources in the Punjab government,however,claimed that that following Sukhbir’s statement,the Canadian government is in a damage control mode as its Punjabi constituency runs into over 6 lakh people.

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