Sukhbir Badal Unhappy With Canadian Govt For Failing To Provide Security

Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Thursday that he had called off, for the time-being, his proposed visit to Canada from September 13 to 22 because of security considerations.

Speaking to media in Chandigarh (India), Badal said that the Canadian government had informed the Union government that it could not provide security to the deputy chief minister during his visit to their shores. Sukhbir said that it was very unfortunate that the Canadian government had declined to take responsibility for his security because of protocol. According to their law, they could offer security only to those who faced threat of terrorism on international scale such as US President Barack Obama and other heads of state.

He said that it was surprising that this security cover was not available to a person like him who was virtually the head of the administration in Punjab. Sukhbir emphasized that whenever Canadian dignitaries visited Punjab, the state government went out of its way to provide them security cover with armed escorts.

During his visit to Canada, he was scheduled to meet the Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper besides the Premiers of British Columbia and Alberta. He had also lined up meetings with business and education centers besides Punjabi Sikhs settled in Canada.

None of the members of the Badal family have visited Canada after Operation Bluestar in 1984 because of radical elements in the country. The Union government in its communication to Punjab government pointed out that Canadian policies allowed protest to all sections of the society.

Therefore, it could not guarantee that fringe elements would not take part in public events arranged for Sukhbir in and around Toronto with the specific objective of shouting slogans and generating negative publicity to embarrass the deputy chief minister. There were ample precedents that such public events were specifically targeted with a view to drawing maximum publicity for the Sikh radical groups.