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.