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Posted at: Apr 23, 2019, 9:35 PM; last updated: Apr 23, 2019, 9:35 PM (IST)

Three Sikhs put on Canadian no-fly list; disquiet in community

Three Sikhs put on Canadian no-fly list; disquiet in community
They have pleaded that the system to bar people from travelling via air was not fair and it violated the Charter of Rights and Freedom.

Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, April 23

In what was seen as a paradigm shift of the Justin Trudeau-led Canadian Federal government towards advocates of Sikh radicals in Canada, three Canadian Sikh activists have been put on the no-fly list under the Secure Travel Act.

Two of the activists—Parvkar Singh Dulai and Bhagat Singh Brar— have been added to the Canadian No-fly list along with another Sikh. After being reportedly informed that sufficient grounds existed to suspect that they might put air travel or transportation security in peril they have challenged the government’s decision in the court.

They have pleaded that the system to bar people from travelling via air was not fair and it violated the Charter of Rights and Freedom.

Tim Warmington, the Public Safety Canada spokesperson, however, has not identified who were the people who were added to the “Passenger Protect” list during recent months for “Security Reasons”.

The decision to make addition of three Sikhs to no-fly list by the Canadian government has kicked a lot of dust amongst a large section of Punjabi community as it was being viewed as the Trudeau-led federal government’s “attempt to appease” the Narendra Modi-led Indian government post Canadian PM’s controversial February 2018 Indian sojourn.

What has triggered a sense of disquiet among a section of Canadian Sikhs and Trudeau baiters was that Canada has “started toeing the Indian government’s line” and its growing concerns pertaining to activities of Sikh radicals in Canada.

All the three Sikhs have informed leading Surrey-based Sikh activist associated with Gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar, Moninder Singh about their fate.

Dulai, the recently surfaced court documents have revealed, had received the notice regarding his being on the no-fly list, while Brar had got a similar communication in May and April 2018. The third Canadian Sikh found out later in December that his name as added to the Canadian No-fly list. 

When Brar had contacted and appealed to Canada’s Passenger Protect Inquiries Office, he was reportedly issued an unclassified summary of the information which was made as the basis in respect to putting him on the list. He was also told recently that the Canadian government had more ‘classified material’ with it. The Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, it was learnt, has also upheld the authorities’ decision in respect to putting all the three on the Canadian No-fly list.

All the three Sikhs who have been placed on the no-fly list, however, were going sans any access to any particular information which was used against them for making them ‘unqualified’ for air travel or as to how they could be a threat to the Canadian national security.

The three Sikhs were learnt to have been vocal against certain Indian government policies in more ways than one. A section of the Sikh community of Canada had got perturbed as the case of the three Sikhs’ being on Canadian No-fly list has come to light post controversial annual Public Safety Canada report on terrorist threats.

The report had for the first time had included the term ‘Sikh’ extremism and it had sparked worldwide outrage among the Sikh community. Sensing the growing criticism on the issue and to pacify the outraged Sikhs, the Canadian government had replaced the specific mention of Sikhs or Khalistanis in its report with ‘those who advocate for an independent Sikh homeland in Punjab state’.

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