Khalistani elements have amped up anti-India propaganda in the midst of landmark G20 Summit being held in New Delhi.
India is hosting the G-20 summit for the first time. From a global perspective, it can mark a historic turning point for the G-20, and India can lead an inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented and decisive G-20. Apart from this, the G-20 meeting being held in India is also important for the world because this meeting is going to be held at a time when international politics is witnessing landmark shifts. Russia and the US are locking horns over Ukraine and China and the US are similarly at odds over Taiwan. Along with the African Union, the whole world is keenly transfixed over this world gathering.
In the midst of all this, a fierce targeted propaganda is being spread on social media by users linked to Pakistan and Khalistani elements to discredit India’s presidency. They are peddling fake news, utter lies and disinformation about G-20, Kashmir and Punjab-Khalistan. In this lie, from retired senior officers of the Pakistan Army to media institutions are involved. This report has been based on the findings of Delhi-based portal www.dfrac.org lays bare the nexus of Khalistan supporters and social media users of Pakistan and exposes how and what toxicity they are introducing in the social media.
- Khalistanis’ Twitter storm against G-20:
Recently, slogans in support of Khalistan were written at many metro stations in New Delhi. The slogans written by extremist group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) claimed that Delhi will soon become Khalistan. A video of SFJ leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannu with this slogan is going viral on social media. In this video, Gurpatwant Singh Pannu is seen threatening India and also warns G-20 countries.
This video of Gurpatwant Singh Pannu has been captioned – “#G20India2023 #Khalistan RPG attack on Delhi Metro stations – “The fight for #G20 continues till 9/11 – SFJ”. Along with this, a message has also been written on the letterhead of SFJ.
#G20India2023 जी-20 सम्मेलन की तैयारियों के बीच खालिस्तानी संगठन सिख फॉर जस्टिस से जुड़े लोगों ने दिल्ली के करीब 8 मेट्रो स्टेशन की दीवारों पर भारत विरोधी नारे लिखे @narendramodi #Hindu #Khalistan #DelhiMetro #SFJ #DelhiPolice #G20 pic.twitter.com/erztd1PDTj
— Srivastava Varun (@varunksrivastav) August 27, 2023
Several bot accounts have been created to share the post of Sikhs for Justice. Thousands of copy-paste tweets were shared in a short span of time sharing SFJ’s post and hashtag.
Copy paste pattern of pro-Khalistan poster:
The users who shared this poster of SFJ and the video of Gurpatwant Singh were copy-pasting the same caption. Not only were posts being posted by these users, but they were also being retweeted. About 400 to 500 tweets have been done by each user. There are some users who have tweeted more than 1000. It seemed that these users wanted to trend the hashtag through maximum tweets and retweets.
It has been observed that whenever any propaganda of Khalistani supporters is run on social media, massive bot accounts are created to share pro-Khalistan hashtags and posts. Earlier this year, over 300 accounts were created to circulate videos of SFJ chief Gurpatwant Singh Pannu ahead of PM Modi’s visit to Australia in February-April 2023. On the other hand more than 100 new accounts were created to share hashtags like #G20IgnoringHRViolationsInIIOJK, #G20_Boycott_Meeting_in_IIOJK. You can see bot accounts being created in the graphic below.
Propaganda alert 🚨
Ahead of G20 Summit in Kashmir, Pakistan-based Twitter handles and pseudo handles are running hate campaigns using multiple hashtags like #NoNormalcySansKashmirResolution & #g20_boycott_meeting_in_iiojk against Govt. of India with a false claim that “people… pic.twitter.com/QeBxNTS8gJ
— Counter Disinformation Centre (@JKCDC_) May 9, 2023
- SFJ terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannu’s threat to India on G-20:
Accounts created to increase Khalistani propaganda have shared Gurpatwant Singh Pannu’s video as well as his audio message. In this audio clip he is threatening India. In the audio, Pannu is provoking Kashmiri Muslims and asking them to leave the Kashmir valley and reach Delhi to block the capital in the midst of the G-20 summit. Not only this, Pannu is also threatening to march to Pragati Maidan after Friday prayers.
These tweets openly threaten that the SFJ will hoist the Khalistani flag at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. At the same time, an appeal has also been made in these posts to release Pritpal Kaka, otherwise be ready for “action” on G-20.
- Pakistani officials and users in support of Khalistan:
Shafaat Shah (@INFANTRY28)-
There is a user named Shafaat Shah (@INFANTRY28) on Twitter. He has 32.2K followers on Twitter. He has made 37.8K tweets. He has stated his location as Lahore-Pakistan. According to his bio, he is a retired Lieutenant General of Pakistan. He has been Military Secretary (MS) to the President of Pakistan and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Jordan.
Shafaat Shah’s tweet on G-20:
Shafaat Shah has tweeted a lot on G-20 being held in India. In a tweet, he wrote- “It seems to be a deliberate move by China to bind India in two equally bad choices – to end its pride or end the G20 summit. At least the G-20 summit will be held in splits.”
China sends ‘deliberate signals’ to India, West as Xi Jinping skips G-20
— SHAFAAT SHAH (@INFANTRY28) September 5, 2023
Shafaat Shah’s tweet in support of Khalistan:
Shafaat Shah keeps tweeting in support of Khalistan. On many occasions, he has supported the demand of Khalistan and addressed Khalistanis as freedom fighters. He wrote in a tweet: “The Sikhs fighting for a separate motherland, Khalistan, are not terrorists but freedom fighters and they are the majority among the 24 million Sikhs living in India and all the 3 million Sikhs living abroad. The results of the referendum largely reflect this. For how long will BJP/RSS deceive the world by calling the freedom struggle in Jammu-Kashmir, Khalistan, Nagaland, Northern States as terrorism?”
In a tweet, Shafaat Shah writes that “Pakistan can open an embassy for Khalistan.”
In a tweet, Shafaat wrote “Khalistan is a reality and a matter of time. Even if Amritpal Singh is arrested, many such leaders will come forward. The fascist regime of BJP/RSS will not be able to suppress this freedom movement like in Jammu and Kashmir, because Sikhs all over the world support separation from India and keep the struggle burning. “Even today, referendums are going on in the QUAD of India and Australia.”
No problem, we can open an Embassy for Khalistan, Jarkand ? https://t.co/iWy8yIaVAn
— SHAFAAT SHAH (@INFANTRY28) April 18, 2019
Shafaat Shah’s fake news in support of Khalistan:
Shafaat Shah has also spread fake news many times to support Khalistan. He claimed in a tweet that during the farmers’ protest in 2021, the Khalistan flag was hoisted on the Red Fort of India.
According to media reports, the flag that was hoisted on the Red Fort was not the flag of Khalistan, but the flag of the holy Nishan Sahib of Sikhism. Nishan Sahib is considered the sacred flag of the Khalsa Panth, which is found in all the Gurdwaras of the country, besides it is also the sacred flag of the Sikh Regiment of the Indian Army.
Looks strange how so many tractors got assembled at one place in Capital Delhi,no one created any hurdles in their way.Khalistan flag hoisted at Lal Qila & no body resisted?Great work by Sikhs alright.
Hope there is no sinister game being played by Modi Govt to malign Pakistan? pic.twitter.com/yFzSq4FlKx
— SHAFAAT SHAH (@INFANTRY28) January 28, 2021
Shafaat Shah claimed that posters in support of Khalistan were put up at Times Square in New York. Posting a photo, he wrote “Khalistan movement’s banner at the most visited site of New York’s Times Square”.
The investigation of the photo revealed that this photo of New York’s Time Square has been edited and a Khalistan poster has been placed on it. In the original photo there is a poster of HSBC Bank.
Usman Mughal (@Usman_Moghal):
A user named Usman Mughal has 1 lakh 61 thousand followers on Twitter. Usman has claimed in a tweet written in Urdu that “After China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Russia has also refused to participate in the G-20 conference to be held in India. Pakistan’s foreign policy is working.”
Usman Mughal’s claim is fake. No G-20 member country has refused to participate in the G-20 summit to be held in India. From the Chinese side, Prime Minister Li Qiang, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and heads of states of various countries will participate.
उस्मान मुगल @Usman_Moghal के ट्वीटर पर 1 लाख 61 हजार फॉलोवर्स हैं। उस्मान ने उर्दू में लिखे एक ट्वीट में दावा किया कि- “चीन, तुर्की, सऊदी अरब, इंडोनेशिया के बाद रूस ने भी भारत में होने वाले G20 समिट में हिस्सा लेने से इनकार कर दिया है। पाकिस्तान की विदेश नीति काम कर रही है।”
— DFRAC (@DFRAC_org) September 5, 2023
There is a user named Singh-M on Twitter. This user has put the Indian tricolour in his profile photo and has written ‘India’ in the location. This user has spread fake and misleading information about the member countries joining G-20.
This user claimed in a post that China, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia will not attend the G-20 meeting to be held in India.
This user has since made similar claims about Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey in separate tweets.
PM Modi meets Turkey’s Erdogan at SCO Summit, discusses bilateral cooperation but Turkey has refused to attend G20 summit in India.
— SinghM (@reach2msingh) August 28, 2023
According to media reports, Prime Minister Li Qiang will attend the G-20 organised in India from the Chinese side. Apart from this, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will come to India. On the other hand, it is being claimed about Egypt that it too will not join the G-20, but the fact is that Egypt is not a part of the G-20 countries at all.
- Foreign organisations involved in protest against G-20 held in India:
IAMC’s anti-G20 campaign:
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) has been actively promoting the agenda ahead of the G-20 summit in India. IAMC tweeted about US President Joe Biden’s visit to India for the summit on August 24, saying- “Minority oppression is skyrocketing in the country”.
Indian American Muslim Council also organised a zoom meeting where they talk about organizing a session on the following points:
1-Dangers of India hosting G-20 summit
2-The abuses that took place after Modi’s visit to America
2-The ongoing political implications of US support for the Indian government
4-How to Get Involved and Take Action in America
It was found that after @IAMCuncil’s tweet on the webinar session, many US handles have tweeted to invite and register more and more people for the session organized by @IAMCouncil. Those who shared @IAMCuncil’s tweet included Suchitra Vijayan (author and founder of Police Project and Watch the State), Arun Sethi (American civil and political rights author, human rights lawyer), Hindu American Foundation, Muslims for Just Futures, Deepa Iyer (South Asian American writer, lawyer, and activist).
It was seen that the Indian American Muslim Council started doing anti-India propaganda as soon as India got the hosting of G-20. Even when the news of G-20 tourist group meeting in Kashmir broke, @IAMCouncil started its agenda and started tweeting against the meeting in Kashmir.
@IAMCuncil’s posts on the G20 attracted massive attention as the account has over 1,78,000 followers on Twitter.
“The rise of Hindu nationalism within India will have an impact on India’s global image, no doubt,” @Aparna_Pande, the director of the India Initiative at the @HudsonInstitute told @kunalpurohit of @ForeignPolicy https://t.co/qck4f2dsFy
— Indian American Muslim Council (@IAMCouncil) September 4, 2023
The New Democratic Party’s anti-G-20 campaign:
The Canadian political party “The New Democratic Party” (NDP) has called for a boycott of the G-20 on Kashmir and India. A search of the official website of the NDP reveals a registration page urging Justin Trudeau to stand up against minorities in India and boycott the G-20.
In the form, the NDP wrote, “Jagmeet Singh and the NDP are calling on Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government to: Boycott any G-20 event held in Chandigarh and Kashmir banning entry of BJP officials from India who have made threats against minorities and elected officials in Canada, and ensuring the safety of Canadians abroad.
One text read – “Stand with Jagmeet Singh and tell Justin Trudeau and the Liberals: Canada must take a strong stand on human rights violations in India.”
It was found that after NDP’s appeal to boycott G-20, several Pakistani news media outlets published articles on it. They include some big names like The Siasat Daily, The Nation, Pakistan Observer, and Associated Press of Pakistan.
On the other hand, the NDP’s appeal was promoted on Twitter by the Indian American Muslim Council (@IAMCuncil) and Pakistan’s Dunya News. After which the Pakistani Twitter army took the lead and shared this news fiercely.
NDP calls for boycott of G20 activities in India
— CanIndia News Editor (@CanIndiaNews) December 15, 2022
On March 21, 2023, Khalistani organisation, World Sikh Organisation (WSO) wrote a letter to support the NDP’s call to boycott G-20 events in India. WSO President Tajinder Singh Sidhu mentioned in the letter that the Indian government lacks the credibility and moral authority to chair the G-20 and host the G-20 countries.