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 group ‘Sikhs For Justice’, which describes itself as a human rights advocacy group, had secured the Tamanawis Secondary School in Surrey to hold a referendum on Khalistan on Sept 10th,2023 (Sunday). The Surrey School District says in a statement that it cancelled the rental of Tamanawis Secondary School for the referendum because promotional posters featured a picture of the school alongside what it called "images of a weapon." The poster for the referendum had featured both an AK-47 machine gun as well as a Kirpan, alongside the image of the school. It said the decision had been communicated to the event organisers. “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” stated the school authorities.
Posters for the vote on a homeland that supporters call Khalistan have included images of a pen being used to stab a gun. However, on Sunday, a spokesperson for the Surrey District School Board said, in a release, that they had cancelled a community rental of one of their schools due to a violation of their rental agreement. the concerned authority released a note saying “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”.
However, Sikhs For Justice volunteer Inderjeet Singh says the group was not notified of the cancellation until Sunday, a week ahead of the event.
He says the vote will now be held at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara where temple leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who supported the independence movement, was shot dead in June. Singh says the Sikh community is still grieving Nijjar's death and frustrated with the lack of progress in the police investigation, and the vote cancellation has "aggravated" people.