Deported from Canada, paralysed man reaches Punjab village

November 6th, 2008 - 11:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Jalandhar, Nov 6 (IANS) A paralysed Sikh, who evaded deportation from Canada to India for two years by hiding at various gurdwaras (Sikh shrines) in that country, finally reached his native Sohal Khalsa village in this Punjab district Thursday.Laibar Singh, 48, who entered Canada on fake papers in 2003, had sought refugee status on grounds of religious persecution in India. He was deported by Canadian authorities from Vancouver Wednesday.

Singh, who had illegally migrated to Canada in search of greener pastures, soon found himself helpless after he was paralysed in 2006. He hid himself in various gurdwaras to evade Canadian immigration authorities for nearly two-and-half years.

His pleas to allow him to live in Canada and bring his Punjab-based children there to help him were disallowed by Canadian immigration authorities.

Singh, who is bed-ridden, told reporters at his village Thursday that he was happy to be among his five children.

“My only regret is that even after spending five years in Canada, I could not change the economic status of my family,” Singh, a widower and former army soldier, said at his two-room house in the village.

Indian immigrants in Canada helped Singh to stay back for over two years. When the authorities tried to put him on a plane to India at Vancouver airport last December, hundreds of Indo-Canadians blocked it.

Singh was given two 60-day reprieves on humanitarian grounds. Since then, Singh was hiding in a gurdwara at Abbotsford on the outskirts of Vancouver.

Before his departure, he thanked the Indo-Canadian community for caring for him through his ordeal. The community has raised $32,000 for him to pay for his medical care in India.

Swaran Gill, president of the gurudwara where Singh was hiding, said the community would raise more money for him later.

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