Friday, August 04, 2023

Detaining British MP at airport sends 'negative message': Akali Dal chief

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal has termed the "detaining" of UK MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi at the Amritsar airport a "highly deplorable act" that sends out a "hugely negative message" about the treatment given to even prominent members of the Sikh community.

United Kingdom MP Dhesi was allegedly stopped for around two hours by officials after he landed at the Shri Guru Ramdas ji International Airport in Amritsar on Thursday, police sources said.

The Labour MP from Slough, who is known to be outspoken on Sikh issues, was apparently not carrying his Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, they said.

"Detaining and harassing prominent Sikh NRI & British MP @TanDhesi at Amritsar airport is a highly deplorable act. This sends a hugely negative message about the treatment of even prominent and respected members of patriotic Sikh community and damages the country's secular image in the comity of nations," Badal tweeted.

"The incident has deeply hurt sentiments of Sikh masses to see one of their internationally acclaimed representatives mistreated thus," he said.

Badal urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to intervene personally "to put a brake on such humiliating treatment to members of the Sikh community".

The SAD chief also said, "The guilty officials must be pulled up for their rude and discriminatory treatment of a highly respected Sikh personality".

In a post on Twitter, Dhesi said, "Upon landing in India last year, I felt the huge love and respect from many Indian farmers unions and civil society... but today I had the indignity of being held back for over two hours at Amritsar airport because some haters had complained to get my valid OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) visa suspended."

"Despite rumours, the issue was fully resolved with officials there, thanks to strong interventions from family, friends and supporters, to whom I'm grateful," he wrote.

04/08/2023 PTI/India Today

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