Canada shuts door on Sikh extremist

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Toronto, Feb 24: A Canadian Court has dismissed a plea of a Sikh extremist to return to Canada who was deported to India for leading a team of militants in the 1984 hijacking of an Indian plane to Pakistan with 225 passengers.

Parminder Singh Saini, 48, application to return to Canada was dismissed by a federal court judge on Feb 9 because he is still deemed a threat to public security.

Saini, who formerly lived in Brampton, was deported to India in Jan 2010. A motion to allow him to return to Canada was filed on Feb 3.

Saini, at age 21 in 1984, was a member of the All India Sikh Students Federation, an organisation deemed a terrorist group in Canada.

Armed with a handgun, he led four militants in the hijacking of an Indian Airways jet that was travelling to Delhi from the city of Srinagar.

The aircraft was flown to Lahore in a drama that ended after a 17-hour standoff, with the hijackers surrendering to Pakistani authorities.

Twenty minutes after takeoff, according to court documents, Saini and another man stood up and pushed aside a female attendant.

The men walked to the front of the plane and Saini raised a handgun and fired. He fired two or three more shots at the cockpit door injuring a flight engineer who was hit by a bullet. The hijackers beat and stabbed two other crew members.

Saini was sentenced to death in Pakistan, but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1988. He was released in 1994 after having spent 10 years in prison and ordered to leave Pakistan.

He came to Canada on Feb 1995 using a phony passport and filed a refugee claim. He graduated as a lawyer from the University of Windsor in 2007 but his application for admission to the Ontario bar was denied.


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