L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Allegations of bias by BKU

I am disappointed with the news report “Canadian minister on Punjab visit” (Jan 12) by Sarbjit Dhaliwal. While citing Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, President, Bharti Kisan Union, the report provides a platform to false information. Mr Rajewal states that I have been sent by the Canadian government to deal with the issues pointed out by the BKU. This is incorrect. Mr Rajewal wrongly states again that 90 per cent of applications are refused at the offices in New Delhi and Chandigarh.

It is also erroneously alleged that a mission questionnaire is designed with the purpose of denying visas to Punjabis. The questionnaire is required only for a very small percentage of visa applicants, and only to ensure compliance with Canadian law.

Mr Rajewal maintains that Mr Brian Hudson, a senior official of our High Commission in New Delhi, has “berated Punjabis.” This is false. We treasure the rich and historic contribution of Punjabi-Canadians to our nation’s society. India has been one of Canada’s largest sources of immigrants for many years and this will continue in future.

Approval rates for temporary resident visas and study permits have risen at our office in Chandigarh for three consecutive years. Our visa office in New Delhi surpassed its targets by finalising more than 19,000 permanent resident visas, thousands of them for residents of Punjab

I take all allegations of bias very seriously. I wish to make it clear that all visa decisions are taken by fully authorised visa officers, and not by the reception staff or the staff of private Visa Application Centres contracted by the Canadian government to receive applications. I wish to work closely with local governments to combat fraud and misrepresentation.

I am also committed to maintaining the integrity of our visa programmes, ensuring the facilitation of genuine travel and preventing unlawful entry into Canada.

JASON KENNEY, Minister of  Citizenship, Immigration &  Multiculturalism, Canada

Den of corruption

The recent draw of lots for the allotment of flats conducted by the DDA exposes the extent of corruption to which it can go. The draw was completely bogus and the cover-up seems to be as hollow. Around 1996, I was allotted a DDA flat in Dwarka. I shudder to recollect the traumatic experience.

I was harassed ceaselessly and was forced to bribe all those who handled my file. One clerk concerned even had the nerve to come all the way personally to Narwana at my office to collect the bribe money.


Tragic news

The report “Punjabi youth shot in Manila” (Jan 9) was very shocking, and extremely tragic in the context of the Doaba region. As it was mentioned in the report, the majority of the Punjabis killed in the past six years in the Philippines belonged to the Doaba region. Kapurthala district in particular has been badly affected for nearly 15 Punjabis killed in the Philippines over the past two years belonged to this district.

Earlier, the Government of India had passed guidelines, which were sent to various states to warn people in rural belts about the happenings in the Philippines and to discourage them from going to the Philippines.

Furthermore, now this issue should be raised strongly with the Philippines Government to ensure the safety of Indian citizens in future.

RAJESH SHARMA, Jalandhar Cantt

Tame Pakistan

Israel and the US have taken the necessary action to get rid of terrorism. We must take a lesson from them. Instead, India has criticised Israel. The “survival of the fittest” is a natural phenomenon. We have to take the necessary steps to survive.

Pakistan is a proven enemy of India and can never be our good friend and cannot be pleased even if we sacrifice all that it wants. Pakistan is trying its level best to destabilise our economy. There are reports that Pakistan is trying to indulge in biological warfare through sponsored terrorists.

A tit-for-tat policy is the need of the hour. No other country will come to provide us security. The consequences of war are disastrous but there is no other alternative. War is the only way to teach a lesson to the enemy which is hell-bent on ending our existence.

DR S S PAL, Gurdaspur

Wrongful hike

It is very shocking that in a nation like India, where millions live below the poverty line, the President, Ms Pratibha Patil, has given a nod to the law giving her 300 per cent hike in her salary — from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh a month. Vice-President M.H. Ansari’s salary has been raised to Rs 1.25 lakh a month. By doing so, are we not increasing the yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots?

If today leaders like the late Lal Bahadur Shastri had been there in her place, he would certainly have not accepted the increased emolument. When a soldier risking his life demands a petty increment or puts forward the genuine demand of “one rank, one pension”, the government dithers. But it has no compunction in sanctioning such huge increments. I want to ask the nation if it is right.




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