- Canadian High Commission regrets inconvenience caused to ex-CRPF officer
- Mr Dhillon wasn't allowed to enter Canada because he worked with CRPF
- India registers protest against characterisation of CRPF
Mr Dhillon, who retired from the Central Reserve Police Force in 2010 after spending nearly four decades, was interrogated for 12 hours over two days and finally ordered to leave the country on 20 May because he had worked with the force that the order said, had committed "widespread and systemic human rights abuses" and Mr Dhillon played a role in the CRPF's "nefarious conduct".
India had protested this characterisation of the CRPF, India's lead counter-insurgency force deployed in the country's trouble-spots ranging from Jammu and Kashmir to the naxal-affected districts in central India to insurgency-infested parts of the Northeast.
"The Central Reserve Police Force plays an important role in upholding law and order in India," Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel said in a statement, saying oversights on visa applications can happen when a large number of applications are handled.
"In situations where established procedures may not have been followed, a review takes place to avoid any reoccurrence," Mr Patel said.
The highly-distinguished former Inspector General of Police, who retired from the CRPF in 2010, said he and his wife were initially cleared by immigration officials when they landed on 18 May but were stopped just before he were to exit the Vancouver airport.
The questioning continued for the next seven hours, Mr Dhillon said, calling the officials "rude, insulting, humiliating and abusive". The officials spoke about Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and the attempt to carve Punjab into an independent country, Khalistan.
"I told them very clearly that these were all conflict zones with complicated realities and that the CRPF was a reserve, peacekeeping force used internationally in conflict areas", he told NDTV. Their passports seized, the couple was allowed to spend the night at their relatives but would have report the next day.
Throughout his interrogations, Mr Dhillon claims, he was made to communicate with the Canadian authorities through an interpreter in Punjabi. This, despite the fact that he made it clear he was conversant in English.
"There was a Punjabi officer among them too, he said, suggesting that his presence could have had something to do with this aggressive approach of the border officials.
After a second round of interrogations on the May 19, which lasted over five hours, Mr Dhillon was told to return to India on the 20 May and his visa cancelled.