The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Tuesday ordered the blocking of applications, website and social media accounts of Punjab Politics TV, saying the channel has close links to banned organisation Sikhs For Justice.
In a statement, the ministry citing intelligence inputs alleged that the channel was trying to use online platforms to disrupt peace during the Assembly elections in Punjab, which took place on February 20.
“The ministry used emergency powers under the IT Rules on 18th February to block the digital media resources of ‘Punjab Politics TV’,” the statement said.
The contents of the blocked apps, websites and social media accounts could potentially propagate communal disharmony and separatism, according to the government. It added that new apps and social media accounts were launched during the elections to gain traction.
“The Government of India remains vigilant and committed to secure the overall information environment in India and thwart any actions having the potential to undermine India’s sovereignty and integrity,” the ministry said.
Ban on Sikhs For Justice
Sikhs For Justice, which is based in the United States, is a pro-Khalistani group that was banned in 2019 by the Centre for its alleged anti-national activities. The group had been pushing for a referendum in 2020 for the creation of Khalistan, a Sikh homeland carved out of India. The campaign also sought to “end Indian occupation of Punjab”.
Last week, the organisation was in the news after former Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas said that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had links to Khalistani separatists.
Following Vishwas’s statement, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party had claimed that Kejriwal was drawing support from Sikhs For Justice, The Indian Express reported. Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi also claimed to have received a letter from the Sikhs For Justice, voicing its support for the Aam Aadmi Party during the ongoing elections.
On February 18, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said that Channi’s claims will be investigated.