Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

Canada Denies Entry to Two Punjab Politicians, Sends Them Back to India

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Two politicians from Punjab were reportedly detained at Ottawa airport and denied entry into Canada on July 22. Aam Aadmi Party MLAs Kultar Singh Sandhwan and Amarjit Singh Sandoa were put on an Air Canada flight to Delhi after being questioned by immigration officials when they landed at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.

The two politicians arrived in Ottawa for a family event, but Canadian authorities were not satisfied with the purpose of their visit, Kamal Garg, AAP’s spokesperson in British Columbia, said, reported.

While Sandhwan was able to satisfy Canadian authorities on the purpose of his visit, “Sandoa could not because he is not fluent in English,” Garg was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

“What we have learnt is that both were to stay with the sister of Kultar Singh Sandhwan in Ottawa and she was waiting to receive them. However, after hours of questioning, she was informed that both were being sent back,” the Indian publication quoted Sudeep Singla, the AAP spokesperson in Toronto, as saying.

Sandhwan is a Member of the Legislative Assembly from Kotkapura while Amarjit Singh Sandoa represents Ropar. Sandoa has been accused of molestation by a woman, and charges against him were framed in court on July 20, a day before he left for Canada. He has also alleged that he was attacked by sand mining mafia.

However, it is not known if the charges against him in India prompted the Canadian officials to deny him entry into the country.

Sandhwan is not facing any criminal case, the Indian Express report added.

The report cited a senior AAP leader as saying that one of the MLAs may have mentioned something about political meetings to Canadian authorities.

AAP leaders in Punjab have earlier been accused of supporting separatist elements based in North America. Senior party leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira created a controversy last month when he was reported as saying that he supported the call for Punjab Referendum 2020 made by some members of the NRI Sikh community. The AAP distanced itself from Khaira’s remarks, and the latter too issued a clarification later.

India has often raised concerns about Sikh separatist groups raising pro-Khalistan din in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to India in February this year was marked by accusations of his administration’s show of support to Khalistan sympathizers, especially after former convict Jaspal Atwal was invited to an official event of the Canadian government in Mumbai.