India has taken up the issue of the denial entry to two members of the Punjab Legislative Assembly at Ottawa Airport in July with the Canadian authorities.

Taking serious note of the letter of Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana KP Singh on the issue of denial entry to two Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) Kultar Singh Sandhwan and Amarjit Singh Sandoa (both Aam Aadmi Party) at Ottawa Airport on 21 July, the Union minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has responded positively.

In the letter to the Speaker, the Union minister said that the Indian High Commission in Ottawa has taken up the matter with the Canadian government seeking the circumstances and reasons for this deplorable action by the Canadian immigration authorities.

Assuring the Speaker to follow the matter scrupulously, Swaraj said, “We take all matters pertaining to members of our legislative bodies very seriously. In fact, the moment I was apprised of the treatment meted out to the two AAP MLAs by the Canadian authorities, my office immediately contacted the High Commissioner in Ottawa to ascertain the facts.”

“I fully agree with you that elected members of our Assemblies deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect whenever they travel abroad. The Canadian Foreign Office has sent the mission an interim response stating that ‘consultations with the Canadian Border Services Agency are ongoing to determine a comprehensive response’. Our Mission will continue to pursue this issue with the Canadian side to ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future,” the Union minister said.

The Speaker has advised all the MLAs to follow the prescribed procedure for their visit to abroad including obtaining of political clearance from the ministry of external affairs and providing prior information to Indian Missions abroad, even for their private visits.

The External Affairs minister also said that Indian diplomats in Canada were unaware of the visit of these two MLAs. Neither was the Indian External Affairs ministry informed of the visit nor the requisite political clearance sought.