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Canada introduces a questionnaire
for Indian visitors to probe their political, religious and social
Nov. 08, 2008
Canada has recently implemented a new measure for the visitors
from India to probe their political, religious and social ties after
the reports about a militant who managed to get visitor visa to
come to Canada just a six weeks earlier.
This 3-page document requests Indian visitors for information about
their association with political, religious or social organizations,
and details of their services in armed forces (police, paramilitary,
etc.), if any, as well as details of their previous trips abroad.
It also demands visitors to answer some intrusive questions such
as whether they, or any of their relatives around the world, have
ever had links to militant groups or done fundraising, and about
any arrests or criminal charges laid against the applicant or any
The questionnaire is implemented by the Canada Border Services
Agency (CBSA) as a result of few weeks earlier incident when a controversial
former Sikh high priest, convicted in India for killing a rival
religious leader, arrived at Vancouver International Airport with
a visa before being sent back to India by the CBSA. In October 2006,
the mother of a convicted assassin was also granted a visa to travel
to Ontario to accept an honor for her son at the Rexdale temple.
The visa was revoked after a report in the Vancouver Sun about the
According to the CBSA, this new requirement is in line with Immigration
and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and immigration applications of
concern are vetted on a case-by-case basis by the CBSA to prevent
people who have committed crimes against humanity, war crimes, or
who are members of a terrorist organization from reaching Canada.
Critics termed this measure "intrusive and useless",
and said that tens of thousands of Indian visa applicants may not
even know how to answer some of the questions. It is important to
note that Canada demands some special documents from the nationals
of few selected countries where applicants might have been involved
in a conflict. But the questionnaires in those cases are given only
to people whose cases have raised other red flags.
Indian community in Canada, especially the Sikh-Canadians, has
shown their mix concerns over the issue. Abbotsford's Kalgidhar
Darbar Sikh Temple president Swarn Singh Gill said there has been
a crackdown on visas coming out of Punjab for some time. "We
have trouble getting visas for all the jathas (preachers) coming
here," he said. He has raised the issue with his local MP.
But Kashmir Singh Dhaliwal, president of Vancouver's Ross Street
Temple, says he agrees with the tougher regulations. He said Canada
has seen violence related to extremists and should make sure anyone
with those associations does not come to visit.
Posted by Salman Hussain at 12:02 AM
Labels: canadian immigration, communities, immigration policies