Politicians from India’s Punjab state reportedly detained at Ottawa airport, deported

Politicians from India’s Punjab state reportedly detained at Ottawa airport, deported

Two politicians from the Indian state of Punjab were reportedly denied entry into Canada on Sunday and put on a flight back to India.

Kultar Singh Sandhwan and Amarjit Singh Sandoa, both MLAs with the Aam Admi Party (AAP) in Punjab, were detained and questioned by immigration officials upon arrival at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, according to Kamal Garg, a B.C.-based spokesperson for the AAP.

The MLAs were in Ottawa for a family event, but were unable to satisfy Canadian authorities as to the purpose of their visit, Garg told Global News.

They were released after questioning, and put on an Air Canada flight back to India.

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One of the MLAs may have mentioned to Canadian immigration officials that he was in the country for political meetings, the Indian Express reported, citing a senior AAP leader.

AAP leaders in Punjab have previously been accused of sympathizing with the Khalistan (Sikh separatist) movement. The party’s top MLA in Punjab caused a stir last month when he expressed support for a referendum on the creation of Khalistan, the Hindustan Times reported last month.

The Khalistan issue was a major flashpoint of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s troubled trip to India in February, with some Indian leaders alleging that members of the Liberal Party were cozying up to Sikh separatist elements.

The AAP’s Vancouver-based spokesperson denied that the deportation was politically motivated, saying neither MLA has spoken out on Khalistan.

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Sandoa has been in the news in India lately for other controversies and alleged crimes, however.

On Friday, a court charged him with molesting his former landlady; last month, he was hospitalized after being assaulted by a man who accused him of extortion.

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