Jalandhar: The Canadian government has put on hold the deportation of Punjabi international student Lovepreet Singh, who was earlier scheduled to be sent to India on June 13.
Lovepreet along with over a dozen other international students from Punjab had been holding a protest against Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) for its decision to deport around 700 students in the alleged fake college admission scam. The students have been sitting in at the Airport Road, Mississauga, in Toronto, from May 28.
The fake admission letter scam came to light in March this year, after students who had applied for Permanent Residency (PR) in Canada received letters from the CBSA noting that the admission letters through which they got study visas in Canada were fake. The students had allegedly applied for study visas in 2017-2018 through Jalandhar-based education consultant Brajesh Mishra and some other agents, who apparently furnished them with fake documents.
While the CBSA issued letters to many students, they ordered Lovepreet to leave Canada by June 13. At present, the students are fighting their cases individually at the immigration and federal courts in Canada.
Talking to The Wire from Mississauga, Lovepreet said that when he got to know that the Canadian government has postponed his deportation, he could not believe it initially.
“I got to know about this today evening at around 4 pm (Canadian time, June 9). I hurriedly cross-checked this development with three or four people, including my lawyers Naseem Mithoowani and Clarisa Waldman and only when I was assured did I share it with some of my friends and my parents. I am yet to believe that this has happened but I am still waiting for the final outcome of this case,” he said.
Lovepreet, who hails from Ropar district near Punjab’s capital Chandigarh, said that though it is a big respite and he was thankful to the Canadian government for taking a humanitarian view on this issue, their protest would continue. “All the students have decided to continue the protest, as the Canadian government swung into action during the last couple of days. Our fight is about admissibility and misrepresentation of our case by fraud education consultants and now we are hopeful that we will win”, he added.
Back home in Punjab, Lovepreet’s parents remain deeply concerned about their son’s fate but are thankful for the recent update.
“My parents asked me to stay in ‘Chardi Kala’, which in Sikhism means to stay optimistic and upbeat always. They kept praying that all students get justice,” he added.
Notably, Lovepreet came to Canada on a study visa and got admission in Lambton College, Mississauga in the year 2017. However, when he reached Canada, he got to know that Mohali-based education consultants Atul Mahajan and Jasmeet Kaur, whose services he took, gave him a fake admission letter and did not even pay his fees.
The Lambton College administration informed Lovepreet of the fraud after which he was told to leave the campus. Later, Lovepreet took admission in a college in Montreal, Canada, and completed his studies. At present, he is on a work permit in Canada.
Canadian liberal MP from Brampton North, Ruby Sahota, is likely to make an official announcement about Lovepreet’s case tomorrow.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has taken up this issue in Canada’s parliament, after which the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assured students that the government’s focus is on identifying the culprits, not penalising the victims.
Another student Balbir Singh said that Lovepreet’s victory has come as a source of hope for all the students. “It is sad to see that while the Canadian government was taking a liberal view of this case, the Indian government could not even arrest Brajesh Mishra who ruined the lives of so many students. The Indian government should arrest him and investigate this fraud,” he said.
Kusum Arora is a freelance journalist.