Toronto, August 2, 2023: As per media reports, a couple from Punjab who claimed that their lives were at risk if they were deported to India due to their alleged links to the Khalistan movement, have been denied refugee status by Canadian authorities.
According to the HindustanTimes repot, Rajvinder Kaur and Randhir Singh, both based in Montreal, had claimed refugee status but were turned down by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB), according to the outlet CTV News.
They had claimed they were “victims of political violence”, according to the report. It added that Kaur said her husband had been “arrested and tortured by internal security police on suspicions he offered shelter to radicalised Sikhs seeking independence”.
Their lawyer Stewart Istvanffy was cited as saying that their only hope was intervention by Canada’s immigration minister.
This isn’t the first case where a person from India facing potential deportation from Canada had used the possibility of repercussions due to their suspected links to Khalistan to seek political refuge in the country.
Among them is former international student from India Karamjit Kaur, based in Edmonton, who faced deportation related to the ongoing cases involving several ex-students who attained study permits at Canadian institutions based on fraudulent documentation prepared by an immigration agent in India.
In May this year, prior to such deportation being frozen by Canada’s immigration minister, had put in an application that she be allowed to remain in Canada on humanitarian grounds as returning to India “would put her life in danger”, according to a report at the time in the outlet CBC News. She was also represented by Istvanffy who had argued that Kaur “was also at risk because of circulating photos showing she had attended a demonstration in support of the Khalistani separatist movement”.
Refugee claims pertaining to India are often linked to the Khalistan issue and a large number of them are not accepted.
In the first quarter of 2023, the IRB accepted 833 claims and rejected 722. In previous years, rejection numbers were larger than those for acceptance. In 2022, those accepted were at 3,469 and rejected at 3,797, as per IRB statistics. Similarly, in 2021, the number of refugee claims accepted totalled 1,043 as against 1,652 rejections.