New Delhi, Oct 26: Thousands of people mainly from Punjab have sought asylum in Canada citing political persecution in India for supporting Khalistan.

After fleeing India, 6,537 people have applied to the Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada, in the last 10 years for citizenship. More than half of the political asylum seekers are said to be from Punjab.

Giving these figures in response to questions sent by, Maylen Estrada-del Rosario, an adviser to the Immigration and Refugee Board, reveals that refugee claims from India are mostly made on the basis that India is a “country of persecution”. The second plea taken by the appellants is that their “political opinion” is different from that of the Indian state due to which they are being persecuted by the security agencies.

Rosario says, “Each case before the Immigration and Refugee Board is decided by independent decision makers on its own merits.” The applicant is required to submit sufficient evidence to support his claim. Canadian authorities monitor the situation in the applicant’s home country on their own.

These asylum seekers enter Canada by sea, land or air. On reaching Canada, they immediately seek refugee status because they are allegedly being persecuted by Indian agencies that violate human rights.

Journalist of Punjabi origin, J.P. The Indian lawyer, once hired, serves a white lawyer who prepares and argues the case in court. The fee alone can range from Rs 30 to Rs 35 lakh per case.

Once an asylum seeker is granted permission to stay in Canada temporarily until the court decides their fate, they are allowed to work and earn for themselves. The litigation continued for several years during which the applicants continued to work to pay the lawyers.

The majority of political asylum seekers prefer Montreal in the state of Quebec in Canada to file their cases. Quebec courts are widely believed to be more sympathetic to refugee claims. It is common knowledge that people from Quebec also want to access from mainland Canada because they feel oppressed.

The Brampton-based Punjab lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says newspaper reports and films emanating from India showing violence against a particular community have been presented in courts to convince judges that India is persecuting them based on their religion and political beliefs. .

The majority of asylum seekers from Punjab claim they are supporters of the Khalistan movement and want an independent Sikh state, but the police and other agencies of the Indian government put them in jail without a fair trial.

Another lawyer who deals with cases of political asylum seekers reveals that the letter of support issued by Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president and MP Simranjit Singh Mann to the party memorandum, himself a Khalistan flag bearer, was “procured” to strengthen an individual’s refugee claim.

New Zealand-based radio and TV host Harnek Singh Nekki claims that Mann charges anything from five to seven lakhs for issuing a letter in support of a particular refugee claim.

Sikh extremists wanted in Punjab to commit or finance acts of violence themselves are learned to be holed up in various cities in Canada as fugitives and control key Gurdwaras. Such extremists are Hardeep Singh Niger, Lakhbir Landa and Arshdeep Singh Arsh.

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— Indian narrative

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content was automatically generated from a syndicated source.)

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