New Delhi: In revelations that threaten to
cause irritation in Indo-Canadian ties, two retired Lt
Generals, three serving Brigadiers and an IB Deputy Director
besides a former senior IB official have been denied visas on
grounds that their organisations were engaged in violence.
The IB officer, assigned to travel to Toronto in
connection with the Prime Minister`s trip there next month,
was later allowed to travel after protest from India.
The denial of visas, over the last two years, has
angered the Home Ministry which has warned that India would
also "retaliate" by disallowing Canadian officials who go to
Afghanistan via this country.
Lt Gen (retd) A S Bahia, a decorated Indian military
officer who is now a member of the Armed Forces Tribunal in
Chandigarh, was refused visa in May this year, contending that
he had served in a "sensitive location" of Jammu and Kashmir.
Bahia, who retired as the Quarter Master General (QMG)
on April 30, 2006, told agency over phone that he had brought the
matter to the notice of appropriate authorities.
In another revelation, two Brigadiers were denied visas
in 2008 and another in 2009. A retired Lt General R N Batra
was also refused visa in 2008 on the similar grounds.
S S Sidhu, a retired IB officer, was denied visa on
March 26 this year, with the Canadian High Commission saying
that he belonged to the "inadmissible" category of persons.
The rejection letter said he could not be given visa as
he had served in an organisation like IB and that led to
apprehension that he could "engage in an act of espionage or
subversion", or "violence that would or might endanger the
lives or safety of persons in Canada."
Sidhu termed it as a "disgusting reply from a friendly
country like Canada and an insult to India."
He said he wanted to go to Canada just to see the new
house of his daughter.
These revelations came four days after a case of denial
of visa to a retired BSF constable came to light. He had been
refused visa on similar grounds.
In view of these cases, the Home Ministry has written to
the External Affairs Ministry, asking it to take up the issue
strongly with the Canadian High Commission.
The Home Ministry wants the Canadian High Commission to
apologise, withdraw the comments and take action against the
officers responsible for such behaviour.