Amid reports of denial of visas by the Canadian authorities to retired Defence personnel who have served in Jammu and Kashmir, a retired Lieutenant Colonel from Bangalore is awaiting since 20 days for reply from the authorities concerned to his applications seeking single entry tourist visa to Canada.

“The authorities have retained our passports sent along with the applications on June 1. They have not returned them even after I told the Canada High Commission to consider the applications as withdrawn,” said Lt. Col. (Retd.) Dinakar Verma, who is in charge of the MEG Group and Centre's Museum here.

Lt. Col. (Retd.) Verma and his wife planned to spend some time with their daughter who lives in Dreamland in the U.S. He booked air tickets leaving here on June 21 and also the return tickets from the U.S. in August. He sent applications to the Canadian High Commission through VFS Global, an authorised agency.

Among the details mentioned in the applications included his joining the Indian Army in 1957, serving in places such as Jammu and Udhampur and retiring in 1995.

He enclosed statements of his income and that of his son-in-law. “We had also mentioned about our planned visit to places such as Niagara Falls before flying to Dreamland,” Lt. Col. (Retd.) Verma said.

When he did not get any response, Lt. Col. (Retd.) Verma sent an e-mail to the Canadian High Commission Consulate on June 10 asking it to expedite the process as he had booked air tickets. “I asked the authorities about the time it will take to process the applications and also sought the return of passports, if they cannot process the applications by June 18,” he said.

To this, Lt. Col. (Retd.) Verma received a reply from the Immigration Section Officer of the High Commission on June 15 stating that further review was needed before a decision could be made on the applications. This forced Lt. Col. (Retd) Verma to send a fax to the High Commission asking it to return their passports as they had to go to the U.S.

Citing reasons of human rights violations, the Canadian authorities have denied visas to some ex-servicemen and former Intelligence Bureau officers.

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