Recently, Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, claimed that Nijjar's shooting death was orchestrated by the Indian government.
Hundreds of Indian students residing in Canada have rallied in protest, expressing their concerns over the looming possibility of deportation. The majority of these students, hailing from Punjab, claim that Canadian authorities have accused them of securing visas through fraudulent admission letters issued by Canadian universities.
The issue flamed after the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) issued deportation notices to approximately 700 Indian students, as it was discovered that their admission offer letters were falsified. Many of the students involved in the protests contend that they arrived in Canada back in 2018, unaware of the fraudulent nature of their admission letters. It was only when they applied for permanent residency five years later that the discrepancies came to light.
Chamandeep Singh, a student participating in the protests, shared in an conversation with NDTV, “Upon our arrival in Canada, our agent informed us that the colleges we had received admission letters for were already filled to capacity. He suggested transferring us to another college, as universities tend to overbook. Wanting to avoid wasting a year, we agreed to the change.” Singh further explained, “We switched colleges, completed our studies, and now, three to four years later, the CBSA notifies us that the admission letters on which we based our visa applications were fraudulent.”
Lovepreet Singh, another protesting student, revealed the devastating toll the threat of deportation has taken on the mental health of the students, with some even contemplating suicide as a result. Lovepreet stated, “We implore the Indian government to address this issue with the Canadian government. We are innocent victims of a scam, and our lives hang in the balance. Many of us are on the brink of despair. While the estimated number of affected students is 700, the actual figure is likely higher, as many suffer in silence without coming forward. I have received a deportation notice for June 30. We invested our life savings to come to Canada, only to be asked to leave.”
Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, Punjab’s NRI Minister described this fraudulent scheme as one of the largest immigration scams in recent history. He emphasized the financial sacrifices made by families, including selling their land, to send their children abroad for education.
In response to the situation, Punjab’s NRI Affairs Minister has appealed for the intervention of External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar. In a letter to Mr. Jaishankar, he urged, “These students, all 700 of them, are innocent victims who have fallen prey to a group of fraudsters. I kindly request your personal involvement in this matter and your efforts to engage with the relevant authorities, including the High Commission of Canada and the Canadian government, to save these students from deportation.”
As the protests persist on the streets, the issue has reached the Canadian Parliament, where Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), questioned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his stance on halting the deportation of these students.