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Not the first time convicted terrorist, Atwal travelled to India on valid visa: MEA

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    It was not for the first time that convicted Khalistani terrorist, Jaspal Atwal had travelled to India on a valid visa, the External Affairs Ministry has said.

    Jaspal Atwal

    Though Atwal's presence at an event for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his India visit created a furore, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the government has a conscious policy of reaching out to the Indian Diaspora, including misguided elements, who in the past may have harboured anti-India sentiments which they have since renounced.

    "Jaspal Atwal has travelled to India on a valid visa. This was not his first visit to India. He has visited the country on earlier occasions since January 2017," Kumar said.

    There are well-established procedures for grant of visa to foreign travellers which have been followed in this case as well, he added.

    While Atwal attended an event in Mumbai where Trudeau and his wife were also present, an invitation to him for a dinner at the Canadian High Commission here was withdrawn after strong reactions in New Delhi.

    Atwal, who was part of the Khalistan movement, was convicted for the attempted murder of Punjab minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu in 1986 in Canada.

    Atwal, meanwhile, has apologised for the "embarrassment" he caused to Trudeau and India by attending the event during in Mumbai and asserted that he no longer supported the Sikh independence movement.

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