SAN

Aspiring Lawyer Deported

admin March 6, 2010 4 Comments

The Sikh Community was distressed and disillusioned towards the Indian State after Operation Blue Star, a military attack against one of the Sikh community’s most central spiritual centres, the Harmandir Sahib. Appalled  by this military action that took the lives of thousands of innocents Sikhs, along with the countless other massacres the Indian government orchestrated towards the Sikh community (see ensaaf.org for more information), many young Sikhs emerged to work for the defence and to protect the interests of the Sikh people in India.

Many Sikhs turned to achieve these goals politically or through the courts.  However, a low response by the Indian government, lack of accountability and continuing human rights abuses resulted in some Sikhs, especially youth, to employ more explicit tactics.

One such incident was the hijacking of an airliner that was taken to Lahore.  It had 270 people abroad and there was a 20 hour standoff. This incident ended with the arrests of the perpetrators and with no casualties.  One of these men was Parminder Singh Saini. He  served 10 years for his role in the hijacking in Pakistan.  However, fearing for his safety after serving his sentence, he migrated to Canada to seek asylum.

Recently his asylum seekers application was rejected and Saini was deported back to India where he was apprehended by Indian police agents as soon as his flight touched down in Delhi.  

The Sikh community is shocked and outraged that the Canadian government failed to ensure the safety of Parminder Singh Saini, who was deported to India after failure to be granted asylum.  India has a history of human rights abuse, subjecting their prisoners to torture,  ill-treatment, and even death.

Saini has lived peacefully for 15 years in Canada. He was married in Canada, attended law school at the University of Windsor, and was an aspiring lawyer.  He was a pillar in the community and was an active member of such organization as Unicef and Amnesty International.

The Sikh Activist Network opposes Parminder Singh Saini’s unjust and unfounded deportation. His removal from Canada tore him away from a community that he had made strong and lasting bonds over the last 15 years.  He lived peacefully and contributed to Canadian society. His deportation represent yet another regressive step the Conservative government has taken towards communites seeking status in Canada. From Komagatu Maru, to more recently Laiber Singh, and now Parminder Singh Saini, these actions represent the Conservative’s draconian approach to asylum seekers and refugees in Canada.

The Sikh Activist Network calls for the immediate return of Parminder Singh Saini to ensure his safety and well being.

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4 Comments

  1. Really March 6, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Though I do not agree with India’s ill treatment of prisoners, why should Saini be granted asylum in Canada? He wants to practice law but committed an unjust act by hijacking a plane and putting in danger hundreds of lives? It’s good of him to be active in the community, work alongside Unicef and Amnesty however that does not take away from the fact that he hijacked a plane. And he trained to be a lawyer, I see something wrong with this. It’s that simple, even if he didn’t mean to harm the people in the plane and did it purely for political reasons to get a point across, it was still wrong. I find it very interesting how your article began with the history of operation blue star to almost justify Saini’s actions. “Many Sikhs turned to achieve these goals politically or through the courts. However, a low response by the Indian government, lack of accountability and continuing human rights abuses resulted in some Sikhs, especially youth, to employ more explicit tactics.”. When one Singh is involved in an event like that, it ruins the images of Sikhs in Canada, especially since Sikhs are an identifiable group and certain Canadians are racist and hold stereotypes.

  2. Rebel March 7, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    This is an issue of double jeopardy. Parminder Singh Saini served his time! Canada has moral and compassionate grounds to ensure Parminder Singh Saini and others are never deported to countries where they could potentially be persecuted or subjected to torture.

  3. Singh March 9, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Parminder Singh Saini already served his time. He spent 10 years in jail in Pakistan for his role in the Hijacking. He went to Canada because he feared for his well being at the hand of the unjust Indian government. Canada should honor his right to sanctuary and protect the well being of Mr. Saini

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