After Twitter, WhatsApp Bans Account of Legal Advisor to Pro-Khalistan Outfit in U.S.
Sikhs For Justice had asked Punjab-based pro-Khalistan WhatsApp groups to make Gurpatwant Singh Pannun their admin to avoid sedition charges in India.
After microblogging website Twitter, now messaging app WhatsApp has blocked the account of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the legal adviser to Sikhs For Justice, a pro-Khalistan separatist organization in the United States. Twitter had banned his account on Sept. 5, following the Indian government’s complaint.
WhatsApp’s move came as Sikhs For Justice, which is running a campaign “Referendum 2020” to demand the creation of a separate country named Khalistan, called Punjab-based “Referendum2020-Khalistan” groups to make him the admin of their WhatsApp groups, so that campaigners in India can save themselves from sedition charges, the Indian Express reported.
This suggestion was given following the recent crackdown by Punjab Police, which arrested some persons on sedition charges for allegedly running social media groups to highlight the Khalistan issue and asking for support from people.
Reacting on the blocking of the social media accounts, a letter from Pannun was tweeted from the account of Sikhs For Justice, in which he blamed the Indian government for these crackdowns on his accounts. “While democratic countries are increasingly allowing the people to decide their political future through voting, actions of Modi government against SFJ’s peaceful campaign for referendum exposes India’s real totalitarian face,” he said in the letter.
1/2 First Twitter Now WhatsApp banned SFJ Legal Advisor account @MEAIndia behest, @narendramodi TOTALITARIAN rule can NOT stop #Referendum2020 @AdityaRajKaul @Geeta_Mohan @rsrobin1 @ChitleenKSethi @smiti_sharma @gauravcsawant @suhasinih @Navjeevan_Gopal @sumbly @RT_MediaAdvPbCM pic.twitter.com/MR5TyEspSB
— Sikhs For Justice (@sikhsforjustice) September 15, 2018
The Indian government had earlier lodged its protest over the permission given to SFJ for organizing a pro-Khalistan rally at London’s Trafalgar square in August. The British government later clarified that permitting a rally to take place did not mean its approval for the cause.
While the SFJ organized a pro-Khalistan rally on Aug.12 in London, a pro-India rally was also held at the same time there to counter the separatist group.