Babbar Khalsa ex-leader hauled before Canadian board

Toronto, Jan 1: A former leader of the banned Babbar Khalsa terrorist group has been ordered to appear at an immigration hearing to decide whether he should be admissible into Canada.

Gurmej Singh Gill arrived in Vancouver to visit relatives in late November and was to return to his home in the British city of Birmingham Dec 22.

But he was ordered to appear before an immigration and refugee board adjudicator due to his alleged link to the banned outfit, the Vancouver Sun reported Tuesday.

Melissa Anderson, communications adviser in Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, said Monday that Gill’s admissibility hearing that was scheduled for Jan 27 has been postponed and it is yet to be rescheduled.

She added that it would likely be held in late February or early March.

Anderson said Gill was referred for the hearing under Section 34 (1)(f) of the Canadian act which says a person is inadmissible to Canada if he or she is “a member of an organisation that, there are reasonable grounds to believe, engages, has engaged or will engage in acts” of espionage, subversion or terrorism.

It is not the first time the former Babbar Khalsa leader has run into problems with Canadian immigration officials.

He was arrested at Vancouver airport in August 2001 when he arrived for his son’s wedding in Surrey in Canada’s British Colombia province and was sent back to Britain without attending the festivities.

Gill earlier said he renounced his membership in the Babbar Khalsa International in 2001, after the group was banned in Britain.

“People who do believe in violence – I had nothing to do with them because British law doesn’t allow these things,” he was quoted as saying.

For years, Gill used the pseudonym Gurmej Singh Babbar and regularly visited British Columbia, where he once lived.

According to the report, Babbar Khalsa was banned in Canada in 2003, years after it had been linked to the June 23, 1985, Air India bombing that left 329 people dead.

Two men tied to the Babbar Khalsa were charged and later acquitted in the bombing, which remains Canada’s deadliest act of terror.

IANS