Punjabis protest Canada's 'bias'
Delhi police break up farmers demonstration near high commission
Sep 17, 2008 04:30 AM
South Asia Bureau
NEW DELHI–Police in India's capital city broke up a group of Punjabi demonstrators marching to the Canadian High Commission to protest derogatory comments allegedly made by a Canadian visa official.
New Delhi police stopped the rally after about 15 minutes, but allowed a delegation of four Punjabis to continue to the high commission to meet staff.
Singh said more than 1,000 protesters showed up for the march, while New Delhi police spokesperson Rajan Bhayat said the figure was closer to 200. Bhayat said the marchers were dispersed because they were in a no-protest area of the city where "groups of more than five are not allowed."
The protesters were up in arms over comments allegedly made by a Canadian visa officer last year and a delay in a subsequent government investigation.
Federal Immigration Minister Diane Finley began a review of visa officer Brian Hudson in December after he allegedly told a delegation of university and college officials from Canada he didn't understand why Canada recruits immigrants from the Punjab, where crime, forgery and human-trafficking rates are purportedly higher than some other jurisdictions in India.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, Punjab is actually among India's least crime-ridden states. Of the country's 35 states, 10 had crime rates lower than Punjab in 2006 and only four states reported lower rates for violent crimes.
Statistically it may be true to say that the Punjab is among India's least crime-ridden states but if it is low because other states rank higher due to a one or two percentage point difference then it isn't saying much. India is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, always on the cusp of social and political unrest.
The protest comes amid complaints that 90 per cent of temporary visa requests from the Canadian mission in Chandigarh are rejected. Chandigarh, a city of about 900,000, serves as the capital to two northern Indian states – Punjab and Haryana.
The refusal rate for temporary visa requests from the Canadian mission in Chandigarh, India, is 50 per cent, the spokesperson said, not the 90 per cent claimed by protesters.
At first I wasn't going to blog about this story until I read that this concerned the Canadian mission in Chandigarh, India. This mission was opened by the Liberal government allegedly to reward Indo-Canadian voters - primarily Sikh voters - for voting Liberal and at a cost to the tax payer of $25 million a year to run. It is the only foreign diplomatic mission in the city and since its opening "nanny schools" popped up around town producing male nanny graduates in a culture where such work is the realm of females. I blog about it here.
The Canadian mission in Chandigarh was opened irrespective of warnings that the Indian city is a "hotbed of false documents". Indian activists in Canada pressured the Liberal government to open the mission and the Liberals obeyed because politics trumps policy. The Chandigarh mission does not serve the needs of Canada and Canadians. It only serves the colonial ambitions of the Indian community. The mission is a waste of money and it only provides another avenue for immigration fraud. Canada should close the mission in Chandigarh, India now!