BBC Punjabi’s Twitter handle withheld for fake news

The Modi government’s tough action against the BBC News Punjabi comes close on heels of similar actions against pro-Khalistan news outlet Baaz.Org and Canadian MP Jasraj Singh Hallan.

New Delhi | Updated: 28 March, 2023 11:49 am IST

The official Twitter account of British broadcaster BBC News’ Punjabi service has been withheld in India for allegedly spreading misinformation and creating a false narrative about the police crackdown on fugitive Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh.

“@bbcnewspunjabi’s account has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand,” reads a message on the account’s profile section.

In February this year, Indian Income Tax authorities conducted a multi-day survey at the BBC offices in New Delhi and Mumbai to find out that the UK’s public broadcaster’s income was not commensurate with the scale of its operations in India.

ALSO READ: West-based Khalistani nexus running online propaganda for Amritpal

The Modi government’s tough action against the BBC News Punjabi come close on heels of similar actions against pro-Khalistan news outlet Baaz and Canadian MP Jasraj Singh Hallan and some other Twitter handles supporting Khalistani elements.

As reported by The New Indian earlier, these handles are part of a well-planned nexus which is running propaganda in support of fugitive Amritpal, whose men threatened to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi and dared Union home minister Amit Shah a few weeks back.

An analysis of the social media campaign in support of Amritpal reveals that a West-based nexus is running a massive coordinated propaganda to defend the former Dubai truck driver who has been running like a mice since police launched a crackdown on his anti-India activities last week.

ALSO READ: V2155280: Number that changed Amritpal’s life

A close study of pro-Amritpal tweets reveals the West’s role in pushing forth the anti-India propaganda giving impetus to the Khalistani narrative, with key players of his nexus stationed in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The analysis of tweets in support of Amritpal exposed the nexus fanning the propaganda as part of their larger goal of gaining a foothold in Punjab.

Pro-Amritpal online propaganda campaign involves fake accounts, Khalistani elements, so-called human rights advocates, and politicians from the US, the UK, and Canada – which has emerged as an operational base for Khalistanis. Canadian politicians, in particular, are heavily supporting Amritpal Singh in the garb of human rights violations.

As police arrested at least two hundred supporters of Amritpal, thousands of accounts like the Toronto Sikhs Kisaan Social Media created during the farm law protests were pressed into action for spreading fake news and fanning anti-India narrative, using hashtags like #AmritpalSingh and #WeStandWithAmritpalSingh. 

ALSO READ: EXC: Amritpal pointed gun on my ears, took my son’s clothes: 48-year-old Granthi

The analysis found that some of these Twitter accounts were used during the farmers’ protest of 2020, hundreds others were created in just two days with the sole objective of spreading misinformation to provoke common Sikhs.

Of all accounts tweeting #WeStandWithAmritPalSingh, 1,739 accounts were created between March 15 and March 19. Out of this number, 820 accounts were created in just one day, i.e. March 17, a day before the police launched the crackdown against ‘Waris Punjab De’.

The analysis shows the accounts tweeting in support of Amritpal Singh, whose arrested men confessed to the police that they were drug addicts, were part of an intricate Khalistani network, sharing each other’s tweets in order to amplify their anti-India propaganda.

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