THE Canadian High Commission in New Delhi on Wednesday apologized to retired Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Inspector-General (IG) Tejinder Singh Dhillon for wrongly deporting him and arranged his flight back to Canada, babushahi.com reports from Ludhiana, Punjab (India).
A resident of Ludhiana, Dhillon was offered apologies first on Tuesday over phone by Oscar Jacobs, Counsellor, Immigration, Canadian High Commission, from Delhi for the way he was treated at Vancouver International Airport and his uncalled-for deportation.
The popular Indian website reported that Dhillon was invited to the Canadian High Commission office in Delhi on Wednesday where he was again offered apologies by Deputy High Commissioner Jess Dutton and Minister Immigration (India, Nepal and Bhutan) Shanon Fraser.
Dhillon told babushahi.com: “I was instantly granted visa and obliged with a ticket for the first available flight to Canada. It is a very thoughtful on their part and I appreciate this nice gesture. They regretted this should not have happened.”
He will back in Canada to attend marriage of his niece and reception on May 26 and 27.
A shooter of international repute, Dhillon said he fought the injustice meted out to him so that this should not happen to any other member of the community in uniform.
Dhillon and his wife had flown together to Canada to attend this family function. Though his wife was allowed but he was denied entry over alleged rights abuse while in job. The matter was taken up by the Indian government with Canada.
The PTI news agency said that the airport authorities saying he served in an organisation that allegedly engaged in “terrorism” and “gross human rights violations”, prompting a strong reaction from India.
Dhillon told PTI: “I landed with my wife in Canada on May 18 as I had a family event to attend. But the Canadian border agency at the airport did not allow me to enter the country.
“I told them that I am a retired senior officer of the Indian police, the CRPF. But, they did not heed to my statements and instead talked to me very rudely and in an unpleasant manner. They told me that my force had indulged in human rights violations.”
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay termed the characterisation of a reputed force like the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) as “completely unacceptable”.
“We have seen the news report regarding denial of entry by Canadian authorities to a senior retired Indian Police Officer. Such a characterisation of a reputed force like the CRPF is completely unacceptable. We have taken up the matter with the Government of Canada,” Baglay said.
He was a “prescribed senior official in the service of a government that, in the opinion of the Minister, engages or has engaged in terrorism, systematic or gross human rights violations, or genocide, a war crime or a crime against humanity”, a document given to Dhillon at the airport read.
In a statement, High Commissioner of Canada Nadir Patel said the language in the document “does not reflect the government of Canada’s policy toward India or any particular organisation, including the Central Reserve Police Force of India. The Central Reserve Police Force plays an important role in upholding law and order in India”.
Regretting any “inconvenience that may have been experienced by this individual and their family”, he said, from time to time, with such a large number of applications, oversights on visa applications can happen.
“In situations where established procedures may not have been followed, a review takes place to avoid any reoccurrence,” he said.
According to Patel, 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 have applied to visit Canada,” he said.
He also said Canada values its relationship with India, based on shared values of democracy, pluralism, human rights and rule of law.
Patel said Canada’s privacy laws prevent him from commenting further.
Dhillon retired from the Central Reserve Police Force as an Inspector General (IG) in 2010.
He was a national level shooter and instrumental in setting up infrastructure for the shooting discipline during the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in the national capital.
Dhillon said he had a valid visa for Canada till 2024 but despite that he was not allowed to enter the country.
“I feel bad that the Canadian authorities, at the lower levels, are trying to antagonise a uniformed force of India and the men and women who have given their blood and sweat for the security of the country. “The authorities should apologize,” he said.
The officer said he had to leave with a heavy heart, from a country he has visited many times in the last 30 years.