Indian Govt Considering Stricter Visa Norms for Sikh Radicals in Canada: Report
Gurdwaras in Melbourne, Australia, have now followed those in the United States, Britain and Canada to ban entry of Indian officials and diplomats.
The Indian government is considering stricter visa norms for Sikh radicals living in Canada, the Tribune reported. The Canadian Sikh diaspora had spearheaded a ban on entry of Indian officials and diplomats in gurdwaras, which was later followed out by Sikh groups in the United States and the United Kingdom. They claimed that the Indian government was interfering with the affairs of the community.
Thirty gurdwaras in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta in Canada and 96 gurdwaras in the United States banned the entry of Indian diplomats and officials. In the United States, they also banned the representatives of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Shiv Sena.
On Jan. 28, gurdwaras in Melbourne, Australia, also decided to ban entry of Indian officials and office-bearers of “anti-Sikh organizations” like the RSS, Shiv Sena and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP). Representatives of 20 gurdwaras and 15 Sikh organizations at Gurdwara Miri Piri in Melbourne have joined the ban, the Times of India reported.
“Indian authorities disgracefully creating new blacklists for those running gurdwaras for simply exercising their right to decide who they allow to speak from gurdwara stages and who they recognize from the stage,” the Sikh Federation UK said in a Facebook post about the alleged stricter visa norms.
Indian officials in Canada are said to be preparing a list of Sikh radicals linked to the gurdwara ban, and those supporting the ban and their relatives will face stricter visa norms, the Tribune reported quoting sources. They could be denied entry upon arrival in India even if they received a visa, it added. The Ministry of External Affairs is also preparing the specifics of the visa norms against those indulging in “anti-India propaganda from foreign soil,” according to the publication.
The Sikh diaspora was angered by the arrest of British Indian Jagtar Singh Johal aka Jaggi in Punjab. The Scottish national was said to be visiting the state for getting married but was picked up by the police for his alleged involvement in pro-Khalistan activities. Jaggi has been accused of planning nine targeted killings of people from other faiths.
He has been incarcerated since November 2017 and his police custody has been extended repeatedly. Two hired guns were used by Johal for the targeted killings and he was involved with Khalistan Liberation Front, the Hindustan Times recently reported. Johal reportedly told the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has taken over the case, about Ramandeep (an assassin) who led them to the other killer, Shera, who was also arrested in November 2017.
Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) visiting relatives in India were reportedly used to send money to the hired killers. The Indian government will be seeking extradition of NRIs who could have links to the case.