This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Criminally Stateless

"Deepan has yet to be convicted and the charges are unproven. Regardless of the outcome of these charges, the Justice for Deepan Support Commitee continues to fight against the erosion of citizenship from people born in Canada or who have become naturalized Canadians."
"Living without Canadian citizenship and being stateless for over three years has meant that the federal government has made it virtually impossible for Deepan to live on his own, form meaningful relationships, find legal work, and access basic health care."
Justice for Deepan Support Committee statement

"Even those of us who are charged with crimes and go to jail have a right to citizenship. As a stateless person, how can you make claims to ensure your right to a fair trial, and proper treatment while in prison are protected? You can't."
Stacy Douglas, support group member

Deepan Budlakoti. (Ottawa Sun Files)
At first reading, it seems dreadfully unfair. That a man born in Canada of East Indian parents working at the Indian High Commission who received their own Canadian citizenship two decades ago, is stateless because he never thought to apply for citizenship on his own. The family's reasoning was that since Deepan Budlakoti was born in Canada, has lived all his life in Ottawa, he is automatically a citizen of the country. That would be true if it were not for the fact that this rule of birth-equalling- status is suspended for those living and working within the foreign diplomatic community.

Now 26 years old, in 2010 he was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of weapons and drug trafficking. The serious nature of the convictions required deportation of a non-citizen under Canadian law, but India balked at receiving him. With his earlier convictions of two counts of breaking and entering, he had amassed quite a criminal record. But he is aghast at the very thought that he might be deported from the only country he has ever lived in, unable to speak any language but English, unaware of what constitutes Indian customs, and with no family in India.

He is attempting to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada on the basis of his Charter rights being infringed. In the meantime, he is evidently searching for success in discovering a "meaningful relationship", finding meaning in consorting with criminal drug dealers, and carrying restricted firearms, endangering other people in the highways by reckless driving, and dealing both drugs and firearms, a line of endeavour that appears to appeal to him far more than a licit workplace.

In October 2015, Budlakoti was arrested and charged by the Ontario Provincial Police with stunt driving when on Highway 417 in a rented Chevrolet Camaro, he was clocked at travelling 165 km/hr. Months earlier, his deportation order had been eased reflecting "good behaviour". Now, most recently, he has been charged after arrest in an anti-gang raid. On December 17, 2015, a Gatineau police anti-gang squad raided two St.Joseph Blvd. apartments, arresting him along with two others.

Police were acting on information that cocaine and fentanyl were present and they seized 144 grams of cocaine, a semi-automatic handgun, ammunition, drug paraphernalia and several thousands in cash. Court documents testify to the charges of two counts of possessing drugs for trafficking; possession of property obtained by crime; two counts of possessing  weapon for a dangerous purpose; possessing a firearm knowing it is unauthorized; two counts of committing an offence with a prohibited weapon; two counts of possessing a weapon obtained by crime; possessing a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition; possessing a firearm knowing that its serial number has been altered, defaced or removed; improper storage of a firearm; and two counts of breaching [a] weapons ban.

His support group had no comment to make on the new criminal charges brought against Deepan Budlakoti other than they had not yet been proven in court. They were on the process of attempting to raise funds to cover the man's costs for health insurance for a year through an online crowdfunding campaign they launched in early December. Such crowdfunding ventures have been quite successful for a variety of situations, some for desperately needy people, some on the basis of hoped-for personal success of a trivial nature. In Mr. Budlakoti's campaign the goal was set at $2,650 and the total amount raised was $495.

One can only imagine that the old adage that you can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time holds true here.

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