Surrey (August 16, 2021): The World Sikh Organization of Canada calls on the Government of Canada to ensure that members of India’s security forces, accused of human rights abuses, are not permitted to enter Canada.
It has come to light that Inspector Prem Bhangu of the Indian Punjab Police recently was allowed to enter Canada and may still be in British Columbia's Lower Mainland area. Bhangu is a notorious member of the Punjab Police who is accused of serious human rights abuses including torture, disappearances and extrajudicial executions. In a 2018 recording in which Bhangu intimidates a political candidate to not contest an election, Bhangu brags that he has killed countless Sikh youth and no one could hold him accountable for it.
Indian security forces are notorious for their flagrant violation of human rights norms. Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2021 noted that ongoing “cases of torture in police custody and extrajudicial killings highlighted continued lack of accountability for police abuses and failure to enforce police reforms” in India.
In the 1980s and 90s, thousands of Sikhs were abducted and disappeared by Indian security forces and human rights abuses have continued since then. Bhangu was himself an active police officer during this time.
It is not clear whether Bhangu has returned to India or remains in Canada.
WSO President Tejinder Singh Sidhu said,
“It is deeply disappointing that a notorious Indian police officer like Prem Bhangu has been allowed to enter Canada despite the serious allegations of human rights violations against him.
It is essential that the Canadian government and authorities not overlook or implicitly legitimize the actions of individuals who have committed human rights abuses and atrocities against civilians by granting them visas to Canada. We expect a full inquiry into how a tainted police officer like Bhangu was granted a visa and assurances that steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again.”
The WSO is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals.