Saturday, April 13, 2024

Khalistan Day posters in Australia: Outrage leads to removal

The Indian solidarity was witnessed in Melbourne on Wednesday when it forced the removal of posters and billboard displaying pictures of terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. It was meant to be Khalistan Day posters. 

As per a report in a local daily, a lot of Indians in Australia approached Victoria police and local council authorities for removal of such posters and billboards. 

The owner of the billboard, Civic Outdoor media company, was flooded with complaint by the Indians. 

The mail written to the CEO of Civic Outdoor, said, “We want to draw your attention to your company’s digital advertising billboard with the picture of a terrorist and the words “Khalistan Day” prominently displayed on the Ring Road, Melbourne. Some details about the Khalistan Day event at Craigieburn Sikh Gurudwara/Temple are also in the advertisement. Displaying such advertising is unbecoming and also gives a platform to extremist views. In case, you were not aware, the Khalistan movement is a terrorism-fuelled movement seeking to create a separate country for its supporters which is to be supposedly named Khalistan.”

Informing the company about Bhindranwale, the mail said, “The billboard displays an image of an individual “Jamail Singh Bhindranwale”, who is classified as a terrorist by not only the Indian government but also foreign governments and several international agencies. “Bhindranwale” symbolizes the terrorism fuelled movement of Khalistan against the Indian republic. Such displays show that secessionists who like to divide India and create Khalistan are strongly working in Victoria. And, unfortunately, your company, through this advertisement, is abetting the cause. Moreover, these acts pose a real problem for peaceful Australia and all Indians who live here and present a national security risk.”

It further said, “Furthermore, this is not the first time this particular Sikh temple has been involved in such events. On 19-20 February, Anti-Hindu, Anti-India, and pro-Khalistan banners were prominently displayed on the temple premises, which were later removed on the Intervention of authorities including the local council and police. Such displays of terrorizing intents that aim to inflict an emblematic re-emergence of the Khalistan movement are strongly condemned. Sikhs are an integral part of the Indian community worldwide and only a small venomous sect of people aggravated by terror forces funded by a geopolitical nexus indulge in these activities. We vehemently oppose such groups and their representatives who fuel communal tensions in peaceful Victoria and multicultural Australia at large. The advertisement also contravenes the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act. Racial and religious vilification is unlawful under the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (Victoria).”

The mail concluded by saying, “You are requested to stop the digital advertisement immediately and to ensure that such advertisements are not displayed in the future.”

The company received hundreds of such emails from all across Australia requesting the management of the company to remove the billboard as it deeply hurts the entire India-Australian community. One of the prominent Twitter Handle ‘Stop Hindu Hate Advocacy Group’ tweeted, 

“Bhindranwale billboard was seen in Melbourne, Aus. Amar Singh of Turban 4 Australia, a Khalistani group, was awarded Citizen of the Year, Federal MP Alex Hawke tweeted in support of Khalistanis. GOI should make this an issue before any FTA’s are signed.”

As a result of the outrage, this poster and the picture of terrorist Bhindranwale on the billboard were removed. 

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