Singh Rallies Held Across Canada

Posted by admin on Aug 18th, 2007

Abbotsford News , Aug 18 2007

Supporters of Laibar Singh, the failed refugee claimant who took sanctuary in an Abbotsford temple for more than a month, rallied across Canada yesterday in a last-ditch attempt to stop his deportation. Organized by No One is Illegal, several community action groups attended a press conference in Vancouver and rallies in Toronto and Ottawa, with delegations congregating at regional citizenship and immigration offices to deliver letters of support for Singh.

“This is not just a Punjabi or Sikh issue,” said Harjap Grewal of No One is Illegal, Vancouver.

“This is clearly an issue of human rights that people beyond the Punjabi or Sikh community are supporting and making their voices heard.”

Singh, paralyzed by an aneurysm last year, is due to return to India on Monday, when he will be taken to New Delhi’s Apollo Hospital.

However, supporters claim the 48-year-old widower should be allowed to stay in the country, especially since he is barely able to move, needs constant care and claims he will face persecution in India.

“There is a due process we’re asking the immigration minister [Diane Finley] to follow,” said Surrey MLA Harry Bains.

“There is an application before her department that he [Singh] be allowed to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds and the minister has the power to do that and has done in the past. I’m asking, what’s the rush?”

Since Singh arrived in Canada in November 2003 on a fake passport, he has been unable to convince the Canadian government to allow him to stay.

His applications for refugee status were turned down and his claim of persecution at the hands of state police rejected by officials who “did not believe he was credible.”

Singh fled his initial deportation on July 8, taking refuge the day before at Abbotsford’s Sahib Kalgidhar Darbar temple on Blueridge Drive, where temple members raised thousands of dollars for his medical care.

He was arrested by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) on Monday night, when he left the temple to go to Abbotsford’s MSA General Hospital for treatment.

At an immigration and refugee board hearing on Wednesday in Vancouver, CBSA set a new date for Singh’s deportation – Aug. 20 – and said he should remain in their custody until then.

“He’s been in the country for a number of years and has established his life here and has support across the country,” said Mohan Mishra of No One is Illegal, Toronto.

“It shows immigration doesn’t care about the opinion of immigrant communities across the country, considering he has such widespread support.”

Supporters are hoping Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley will halt the deportation.

“It’s completely racist and inhumane,” said Mandeep Dhillon of No One is Illegal, Montreal about Singh’s deportation.

Allowing the father of four to stay in Canada would “set a positive precedent” and provide “a glimmer of hope” to thousands of immigrants in sanctuary in Canada with cases similar to Singh’s.

Grewal also questions who will pick up the tab for Singh’s care once he returns to India. It is understood CBSA will pay for his initial medical assessment at Apollo, but what happens thereafter is what Grewal is worried about. Coming from a poor peasant family, Grewal doubts Singh’s family will be able to pay for treatment at the prestigious hospital.

MP Sukh Dhaliwal is especially concerned about Singh’s health.

“It means his deportation puts his health in serious jeopardy,” said Dhaliwal, noting his paralysis and the high level of care he requires.

Supporters rally for release of man facing deportation
Kelly Sinoski , Vancouver Sun
Saturday, August 18, 2007Supporters of a paralysed refugee claimant who is facing deportation to India are rallying across the country to call for his release on humanitarian grounds.Laibar Singh, 48, is set to be deported Monday by the Canada Border Services Agency, which has hired a private jet to take him to the Apollo Hospital in New Delhi.But his supporters, including community groups, politicians and the Hospital Employees Union, say his deportation is akin to a death sentence.

They’ve called on Immigration Minister Diane Finley and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day to immediately review Singh’s case.

“The community at large is very concerned. If this man is forced to leave Canada, he is facing death, there’s no two ways about it,” said Surdev Singh Jatana, a member of the Abbotsford Sahib Kalgidhar Darbar temple where Singh took sanctuary before he was to be deported last month.

“We strongly request the minister to give this man a chance to have a better life here than no life in India.”

Singh entered Canada in November 2003 on a fake passport.

His applications for refugee status, a judicial review of his failed claim and an exemption on humanitarian and compassionate grounds have all been refused.

Singh, who suffered an aneurysm last year, was ordered deported in June.

A day before his removal, set for July 8, he was whisked to sanctuary at the Abbotsford temple.

He remained there until last week when he was taken to hospital after developing an infection. Nine police officers and border guards later arrested him before he could return to the temple.

On Friday, about 13 speakers rallied in Vancouver in support of him. Other rallies are planned for Toronto and Montreal, said Harsha Walia, a member of the group No One Is Illegal.

Supporters, who included Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal and Jane Dyson of the B.C. Coalition for People with Disabilities, said Singh should be allowed to stay in Canada pending review of his deportation order on humanitarian grounds.

Singh’s lawyer, Zool Suleman, says they’ve had no response from Ottawa.

“We have been very explicit in saying there has been immense and overwhelming support for him,” Suleman said.

“To vacillate in the face of so much outpouring of support of this man seems to be a rejection of [the government’s] responsibility.

“It’s a bit shocking how hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people have to beg to be heard.”

Suleman said Singh, who is currently being held in a private room at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre, is not doing well and called for a third-party assessment to ensure he was able to travel.

“He’s tremendously distressed,” Suleman said. “We are very worried.”

Rallies held to protest man’s deportation to India
Globe and Mail NationalCP August 18, 2007Vancouver — More than a dozen politicians and community leaders came together yesterday to urge the federal government to allow a paralyzed Indian refugee who faces deportation to stay in Canada.Since July, Laibar Singh has lived in sanctuary at an Abbotsford Sikh temple. He left his safety zone on Monday to seek treatment at a local hospital, where he was arrested.

Immigration officials ordered the 48-year-old to be removed from the country on Monday.

Liberal MP Suhk Dhaliwal, NDP MLA Harry Bains and several members of various ethnic and community groups held a news conference in Vancouver to support Mr. Singh.

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