Simon Semchuk, Arthur, The Peterborough and Trent University Independent Press, January 27, 2014
Last Monday, Jan. 20, many people came out despite Committee’s the cold to hear the Community Race Relationsevent “Undoing Border Imperialism, Reclaiming Citizenship,” featuring Deepan Budlakoti, Harshia Walia, and Vanessa Gray on acts of environmental and cultural violence committed by the Canadian government, and Ayendri Perrera on creating a space for catalysing local activism for detainees.
Budlakoti is an Ottawa-born activist who was stripped of his citizenship in 2010. He was to be deported to India, where he has never lived, but, due to India not recognizing his citizenship either, he is now a stateless person pitted in a battle against the Conservative government for his right to citizenship.
“I’m born in Canada. I have an Ontario birth certificate. I have lived in Ottawa all my life,” Budlakoti began, explaining he was charged with the transfer of a firearm, and during his incarceration, got into an altercation with one of the guards who sent him to solitary confinement. He stayed in the hole for 30 days.
While there, a guard asked him if he was a citizen, and then, when shown documentation, took away his passport and contacted the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), which was beyond that guard’s jurisdiction to do.