Toronto, September 4
A Khalistan referendum event, scheduled to take place on September 10 at a school in Canada, has been cancelled after images of weapons on the poster were brought to the school authorities' notice.
The Surrey School District announced on Sunday that it had cancelled the event at Tamanawis Secondary School in Surrey town of British Columbia province as the event organisers failed to remove the "concerning images" despite repeated requests.
"Earlier today, our district cancelled a community rental of one of our schools due to a violation of our rental agreement. Promotional materials for the event featured images of our school, alongside images of a weapon,” the Surrey School District said in a statement published on The Indo-Canadian Voice website.
“Despite repeated attempts to address the issue, the event organisers failed to remove these concerning images, and materials continued to be posted throughout Surrey and on social media,” the statement read.
The poster featured a kirpan (dagger) as well as an AK-47 machine gun, along with the name of banned Khalistani group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), which is led by Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
It also had pictures of Khalistani leaders Hardip Singh Nijjar, who was shot dead in June at a parking lot in Surrey, and Talwinder Singh Parmar, the mastermind of the 1985 Air India Flight bombing.
“As a school district, our primary mission is to provide quality education and support to our students and ensure a safe environment for our school communities. Our agreements, policies and guidelines, including those for rentals, support our district in creating a safe environment for our community. Anyone renting our facilities must adhere to this,” the statement by school authorities read.
The school district added that the decision is in "no way an endorsement of, or criticism of, any political position”.
The development comes amidst recent appearances of pro-Khalistani posters threatening Indian diplomats and installations in Canada.
SFJ's Pannun has called on the Khalistan elements in Canada to “lock down” India's Consulate in Vancouver on September 8.
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