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US in the News - World Sikh News Network


Montreal school suspends Sikh student, community complains of mis-reporting incident
Sept 24 , 2008


Montreal, Quebec: A thirteen-year-old Sikh boy was suspended from school on September 11th after being accused of threatening another student outside school with his kirpan. A leading Sikh community NGO has claimd that the school in Le Salle suspended the Sikh student "without properly investigating the matter." It quoted "multiple independent eye-witnesses to the incident" as confirming that "the Sikh boy never touched his kirpan."



The non-profit organisation United Sikhs said it was assisting the family by working with local Montreal Sikh community activists and eminent human-rights lawyer Julius Grey to have the Sikh boy's suspension lifted and also to thwart incorrect media reports which have misreported the incident "and are using it to reignite the debate about the kirpan in Montreal schools."


The incident occurred when a few students, including the Sikh boy, left school for lunch. Two boys followed the students and began taunting and bullying the Sikh boy, as they have on numerous occasions in the past. "When the Sikh boy was adjusting his loose pants, the bullies notice the boy's kirpan, which was securely wrapped in a long cloth and had multiple rubber-bands around it. Upon returning to school, the Sikh boy and another student reported the bullying incident to their teacher, who responded that she would investigate the matter, but did not have time today. Shortly thereafter, police arrived at the school and began questioning the Sikh boy. It is believed that the bullies reported that the Sikh boy threatened them with his kirpan to their mother, who in turn called the police. The Sikh boy was suspended by the school for an indefinite period of time, and police have yet to file any charges."


A local newspaper Montreal Gazette said the incident raises questions the famous court decision in Multani case in which the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the right of Sikh children to wear the kirpan to school in 2006. Local Sikhs are strongly contesting the version of the incident being played up.


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