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Indian students resume hunger strike in Canada province over immigration rules

Indian students in Canada’s Prince Edward Island have resumed their hunger strike, saying that was the only option left with them. Dozens of Indians face the risk of being deported from Canada after its province, Prince Edward Island (PEI) changed its immigration rules.

The resumption of the hunger strike on June 18 came even as an immigration advisor recommended that the province in eastern Canada seek counsel from Manitoba, another province that houses huge numbers of immigrants, to find a solution.

Jaspreet Singh and four other foreign workers stopped eating at 10 am as they felt it was the only option to get their demands heard, reported The Star. He said neither the provincial government nor the immigration officials heard them. Earlier, the Indian students in PEI had planned a “big blackout” on June 19.

“We are organising another big blackout, and we want all our people to join us on June 19. All communities, Islanders, please come outside your homes. It’s a nice day, and we want to send the right message in the right way because there is another draw on June 20,” protest leader Rupinder Pal Singh said in a podcast.

The protesting Indian students ended their hunger strike weeks ago on the advice of local leaders. The suggestion to end the earlier hunger strike came after the health of some of the students started deteriorating.

PEI PROTESTS RESUME, NOW HUNGER STRIKE TOO

In an interview on June 18, Rupinder Pal Singh said, “I’m definitely worried about my health. The previous time, I went unconscious a couple of times, and also was feeling drowsy, and I was not in good health.”

Singh and 20 others began protesting on May 23 as they set up camp near the provincial legislature with similar demands: gaining eligibility for permanent residency under the immigration regulations that existed when they first came to the island.

The protesters are adamant about getting their demands heard. Last time, they went on without any food for nine days till a government official met them on May 31 and assured them about taking the list of 250 workers who would be affected by the new immigration rules.

EXCUSES AND NO REAL PROGRESS, SAY PROTESTERS

“There has been no communication at all,” Singh said since then. “They haven’t provided any solution, just excuses.”

A spokesperson for the provincial Department of Workforce, Advanced Learning and Population said they have met the foreign workers, “This includes changing professions and pursuing other immigration pathways, either provincial programs or federal ones,” Hillary Proctor said in an emailed statement.

“The province hopes that the information that has been provided will allow these individuals to make the best informed decision about their personal circumstances.”

Published By:

India Today Web Desk

Published On:

Jun 19, 2024