Thursday, May 27, 2010

Canada Insists On Visa Insults, Angers India

May 27th, 2010 -- Age Correspondents | New Delhi

There was further reason for India to be greatly annoyed with the Canadians after it emerged on Wednesday that an Intelligence Bureau official who was to have travelled to Canada as part of preparations for the Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to that country was denied a visa as his organisation had “engaged in violence”.

The IB official, who was due to travel to Toronto, was later given a visa but only after New Delhi lodged a strong protest about the visa denial.

In an understandably angry reaction, the home ministry on Wednesday wrote to the ministry of external affairs asking that
Canada “apologise” for citing the reasons it had for repeated denial of visas to various officials, and also described the developments as “unacceptable”.

Wednesday’s revelations only added fuel to a fire which was stoked when it became known earlier this week that a retired BSF official too was denied a Canadian visa for having served with the paramilitary force in
Jammu and Kashmir.

It has now emerged that three serving Army brigadiers, a retired IB official and another official working for the Armed Forces Tribunal were also denied Canadian visas for having worked in organisations “engaged in violence”.

In an indication of the home ministry’s anger at the Canadian government’s stand on officers who may have served with the Army or paramilitary units in
Kashmir, a senior official said on Wednesday: “It’s a question of our country’s self-respect.

The reasons cited by
Canada for denying visas should be withdrawn immediately.

India will retaliate by denying visas to Canadian officials who go to Afghanistan via our country.”

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