Ex-Army officials, Punjab Police personnel’s long wait to get Canadian visas

by The Technical Blogs


A recent revelation by retired Indian diplomat Vivek Katju has brought to light the challenges faced by retired security personnel in obtaining Canadian visas, particularly those who have served in counter-terrorism operations in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir.

Speaking to India Today, Vivek Katju, a former ambassador, shed light on the situation stating, “Canada regularly denies visas to members of our security forces who have served in Jammu and Kashmir. Canada has also denied visas to members of our services, which we do not talk about”.

Several top officers from Punjab Police have also encountered significant obstacles in securing Canadian visas, with one of the retired officials waiting for over a year with no communication from the authorities.

The said retired officer, once an Additional Inspector General (AIG) in Punjab Police, and his family submitted visa applications over a year ago, but they are yet to receive any response from the Canadian authorities. In contrast, the officer’s close relative managed to secure a visa within a month’s time and has already left for Canada.

Speaking to India Today on the condition of anonymity, the retired officer said, ” Army, paramilitaries, and Punjab Police have been at the forefront of fighting terror, but Canada has been unfair in singling out individuals. I do not wish to disclose my name, putting my family at risk in Canada as there are several Khalistani groups active there”.

Another officer, who has served in Punjab Police’s Intelligence wing, expressed similar sentiments, saying, “It is ironic that gangsters and Khalistani extremists have a free run in Canada, but those who have served in law enforcement agencies face hurdles.”

The officer also claimed that he was not the only one who was waiting for a visa, adding that there were several others whose wait for a visa was seemingly unending.

Even a former Inspector General of Punjab Police who retired in 2022 has been waiting for a Canadian Visa for a year, though he remains unwilling to go on the record, stating, “It will serve no purpose.”

Officers, speaking on the condition of anonymity to India Today, revealed that Canada requires security personnel applying for visas to disclose the places where they have served, adding to the complexity of the application process.

Tejinder Singh Dhillon, a retired Inspector General of Police from the Central Reserve Police Force since 2010, found himself declared inadmissible under a subsection of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Dhillon, a decorated officer and Commonwealth shooting coach, had been visiting Canada for more than three decades, including several trips during his service in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

“All those serving in uniform are not human rights violators. There is no iota of proof.” Canadian officials probed him about his stint in “Kashmir” and “Operation Blue Star,” Dhillon said.

While Dhillon’s wife was allowed to travel to Toronto for a family wedding, Dhillon himself was turned away. Infuriated, he took matters into his own hands, prompting the Canadian consulate to issue an apology and facilitate his timely travel to attend the wedding.

However, several serving and retired officers have complained about discrimination by Canadian authorities.

Published On:

Sep 12, 2023


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