February 22, 2018 2:23:46 am
Allegedly denied Indian visa seven times, Paramjit Singh Randhawa, a Canada-based businessman and supporter of World Sikh Organisation (WSO), finally entered the country as part of the delegation of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after a gap of 38 years.
WSO is the organisation which Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh had accused Canadian minister Harjit Sajjan of having links with to push for the demand of a separate Khalistan.
Talking to The Indian Express, Randhawa said, “I went to Canada legally in 1980 along with my parents. I was trying to settle in Canada when Operation Blue Star happened. It was a big shock for us. Operation Blue Star was followed by grave human rights violations in Punjab and we got active to raise our voice against the same. Since then, I have been working to get justice for the community and also became a supporter of WSO.”
“I applied for a visa to visit India seven times in the last 38 years, but it was refused. My mother was on a visit to India in 2001 when she died. Many Shiromani Akali Dal leaders, including MPs Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, attempted to clear my visa application so that I could come and attend the cremation and bhog ceremony of my mother. We also delayed the bhog ceremony in the hope to get a visa, but I couldn’t get it,” he said.
“As Trudeau was planning visit to India, member of the Canadian Parliament from my constituency Richmond Joe Peschisolido sent my name in the list of delegates. Finally, I got visa on arrival for 60 days after landing in Delhi along with delegation,” said Randhawa, who is from Thru village in district Tarn Taran.
“I directly went to the cremation ground after visiting my village to see where my mother was cremated 18 years back. There have been many like me who haven’t visited India because they would not get visa due to voice raised by them against human rights violations in Punjab,” Randhawa said.
“WSO has worked very hard for the rights for Sikhs in Canada. It was WSO which convinced the Canada government to allow Sikhs to carry kirpan at public places. Kundan Singh Sajjan, father of Harjit Singh Sajjan, has also remained associated with WSO. Kundan Singh was also president of Chief Khalsa Diwan Society which was founded in 1908 by Gadaris to free India from the British. I am not member of WSO, but a supporter,” he said.
On what the Indian government can do to break ice with activists like him in Canada, Randhawa said, “Canada has given respect and justice to Sikhs. Sikhs never get justice in India. If the Indian government can provide justice to Sikhs for what happened in 1984, it will melt the ice. All we need is justice.”
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