Indian ‘anti-corruption whistle-blower’ loses appeal for asylum in US

indica News Bureau-


The Ninth Circuit court has rejected an appeal by an Indian asylum-seeker, Daya Singh, who claims he faces persecution for his anti-corruption stance in his home state, Punjab.

A report on said the three-judge panel ruled on Tuesday that Daya Singh had failed to prove that any persecution that he might suffer on return to India would be on account of his opposition to police corruption in his country.

The panel was unanimous that Daya Singh could not be called an anti-corruption crusader, having spoken out in a limited way only in one instance in which police wrongdoing directly affected him.

“While an alien’s opposition to broad forms of governmental corruption may evince a political opinion, his opposition to isolated corruption or the abuses of rogue officials usually do not,” the judges wrote.

Daya Singh was reportedly detained by police in Punjab, India, on a charge that he and another man had participated in an attempted gun attack on local police.

The other man vanished after being detained and Daya Singh gave a statement to lawyers for his family that he had argued with the officers before disappearing.

Daya Singh was subsequently threatened, beaten and humiliated by police, and forced to recant his statement to the lawyers, according to US court records.

A few months later, in early 2008, Daya Singh applied for asylum in the US. However, the immigration judge handling his case rejected his application. The judge said Daya Singh’s statement to the lawyers did not reflect any anti-corruption beliefs because he did not make the allegations public or bring them to the notice of higher authorities. The judge also said he believed the officers who allegedly abused the applicant were motivated only by a desire for personal revenge.

Daya Singh moved the Board of Immigration Appeals, but the board upheld the judge’s decision. Following this, Daya Singh filed an appeal before the Ninth Circuit court.

The Ninth Circuit court did, however, agree with Daya Singh on one point, that the appeals board had applied the wrong legal standard when assessing his bid to pause his removal from the US.

Asylum-seekers have to show their protected political opinion is “one central reason” for their persecution in order to have their applications approved. But those who are simply seeking a pause on removal from the US only have to show that the political opinion is “reason” for the persecution.

Leave a Reply