Paralyzed Sikh refugee in Canada to return to India over imprisonment fears

October 24th, 2008 - 2:50 pm ICT by ANI  

Ottawa, Oct 24 (ANI): After 15 months in sanctuary, paralysed would-be refugee claimant Laibar Singh has decided to leave an Abbotsford Sikh temple and return to India to be with his family.

Kalgidhar Darbar temple president Swarn Singh Gill said Singh is stressed and worn out by the struggle to remain in Canada and thinks it is better to go home.

He is thinking the border services are going to put him in jail. He is thinking he will never be allowed to stay in Canada. All these things are running around in his mind all the time, Gill said on Thursday.

So Singh, who has mounted a lengthy and controversial battle against the Canada Border Services Agency, has now informed his lawyer, Peter Edelmann, that he will leave Canada voluntarily.

Edelmann issued a statement on Thursday saying his client will present himself to the Canada Border Services Agency for removal to India.

On a number of recent occasions, agents from CBSA have attended at the Abbotsford Gurdwara [temple], despite the clear indication that it was a sanctuary zone, to tell Singh that there was no chance for him to remain in Canada, Edelmann said.

Many at the temple who have devoted time and money caring for the disabled man are disappointed that he plans to leave now, Gill said.

Some are a little sad. He is just like a family member now. We see him every day. My daughter is with him all the time, Gill said. But he wants to stay with his family in India.

Singh, 49, arrived in Canada in 2003 on a false passport and later applied for refugee status.

But he lost his case and all subsequent appeals, and a removal order was issued against him. He landed in hospital in 2006 after an illness left him paralysed and dependent on a wheelchair.

The Vancouver Sun first reported on his plight in June 2007 when it was learned he would be deported a few days later despite his then-fragile health.

He took sanctuary in the Abbotsford temple the same day that the CBSA had chartered a flight to Delhi. (ANI)

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