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Khalistanis suffer another jolt in Canada as local authorities deny permission to conduct referendum

Posters of Khalistan Referendum event were put across Tamanawis Secondary School, Surrey.

In what comes as a major jolt to thriving Khalistani activities in Canada, the local authorities have withdrawn permission for a referendum event scheduled for September 10 at the Tamanawis Secondary School, Surrey in British Columbia.

A spokesperson for the Surrey District School Board said that it had “cancelled a community rental of one of our schools due to a violation of our rental agreement” though senior authorities revealed that the reason for withdrawing permission was that promotional materials used for the event. The event organisers had put up several posters featuring images of the school, alongside images of weapons like AK-47 and machine gun as well as a ‘kirpan’.

“Despite repeated attempts to address the issue, the event organizers failed to remove these concerning images, and materials continued to be posted throughout Surrey and on social media. The decision had been communicated to the event organisers,” read the official statement issued by the school. The school authorities claimed that they had very categorically communicated their mission objective to provide a safe environment for school communities and expected those renting premises to abide by them. 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 added.

It may be noted that Indian diaspora and Surrey based organisations like Friends of Canada had taken strong umbrage to government schools being rented for Khalistani events. They had complained to the Board that there were posters of Talwinder Singh Parmar pasted all around the school premises. Parmar is considered the mastermind of the terrorist bombing of Air India flight 182, the Kanishka, which claimed 329 lives on June 23, 1985.

The letter from concerned residents of Surrey also pointed out the image of the AK-47. “The School Board, City of Surrey and Provincial Government of BC is answerable to the parents for this day light promotion of gun violence,” it said.

“We could not let this happen. Public property like schools cannot be given out for such anti-national activities and violence cannot be promoted and publicised here. We took strong objection and approached authorities who have now cancelled the event,” said Maninder Gill, president of the Surrey-based Friends of Canada. Responding to their complaints at a radio show, Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke clarified that the city does not and has never endorsed the Khalistani Movement.

“We have nothing to do with referendum activities planned for Tamanawis Secondary School or any other Surrey-controlled premises. Surrey City Council has no legal say in how Surrey School District uses school premises. I however strongly condemn the posters depicting an AK-47 automatic weapon as absolutely unacceptable”, she said.

Meanwhile though another date for the referendum has not been announced, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) general counsel Gurpatwant Pannun called for pro-Khalistan elements to “lock down” India’s Consulate in Vancouver on September 8.

Also read:  “Defacement terrorism” in India by Khalistani separatists continues to be a flop show