JALANDHAR: A Sikh member of provincial parliament (equivalent to MLA in India) of Ontario has alleged that he has been denied visa by India for his visit to Amritsar to attend a ceremony by two NGOs which selected him for “Sikh of the Year” Award.
He has said that now he has also received an email from Indian consulate confirming that he was not granted permission to travel to India.
Jagmeet Singh, a young MPP from Bramalea Gore Malton constituency of Ontario, claimed he has received an email from Indian consulate denying him permission to travel to India.
Singh happens to be the first Sikh member of the legislative assembly of Ontario, the largest province of Canada.
“The Indian government is apparently annoyed with me strongly raising voice for justice to victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots. I have been propagating the issue that these were not riots between two communities instead it was a state sponsored massacre,” Jagmeet told TOI over phone from Canada.
“I had applied for a visa to attend the award ceremony on December 24 but have been told by the Indian embassy officials that ministry of home affairs of India did not clear my visit,” Singh said.
“As a human rights lawyers I have been speaking out on the issue of human rights pertaining to all communities. I have maintained that the word riot is a misnomer for what happened in November 1984. It tarnishes the image of Hindus as many among them saved a number of lives of Sikhs. It was a Congress sponsored mass killing,” he added.
Jagmeet was instrumental in passage of a law, which would recognize April as Sikh heritage month in Ontario. “The province would recognize the month of April as month to celebrate Sikhism as a unique and distinct religion. This was a great honour to the Sikh community in Canada. This was the first law of its type in the history of Canada and one of the first laws of its kind in the world,” he said.
“I was selected to receive the Sikh of the year award from two organizations SEWA and International Fateh Academy. The award ceremony took place on December 24 in Amritsar. Earlier this year, I travelled to India for about a month from January to February. However when I applied for a visa to travel to India to attend the award ceremony I was denied. This may be the first time in the history of Canada that the Indian government denied an elected official a visa,” Jagmeet wrote in an email to TOI.