Anti-India social media videos of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the self-proclaimed General Counsel’ of the outlawed Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), may soon get blocked in India if the concerns of security agencies, including the National Investigation Agency, are acted upon by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
The MHA and MeitY are also studying suggestions that intermediaries take down online “anti-India” material within six hours of getting information from authorised agencies. At present, intermediaries get a period of up to 36 hours to do so which often proves too long and fails to check the spread of objectionable content.
Even this step requires a hearing, giving the social media tech companies an opportunity to argue against the Union government’s direction.
“Sending requests to MeitY for taking down objectionable content every two weeks is a continuous process that security agencies follow. I am sure Pannun videos will also be acted against under this established procedure,” said an official of a security agency.
If at all Pannun videos are declared “unlawful” by MeitY, then forwarding or sharing of his videos by his supporters or sympathisers base abroad will also become an offence. “Indians who have stored his old videos will invite trouble if they try to circulate them,” said a cyber expert.
Apart from threatening Air India, Pannun is suspected to be linked to the recent attacks on the Consulate General of India, San Francisco, US.
A total of 14 locations were raided in the two North Indian states by the NIA teams in a bid to unravel the complete conspiracy behind the 19th March, 2023 and 2nd July, 2023 attacks, involving criminal trespass, vandalism, damage to public property and attempts to cause hurt to the Consulate officials and set the Consulate building on fire through acts of arson.
On November 4, Pannun had released a video on social media threatening the passengers flying and Air India airlines with a global blockade and closure of the operations of the airline from November 19.
The NIA has booked Pannun under sections 120B, 153A & 506 of the IPC and sections 10, 13, 16, 17, 18, 18B & 20 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Pannun, the self-proclaimed General Counsel’ of the outlawed ‘unlawful Association’, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), is in the eye of the storm yet again following the release and circulation of video messages on various social media platforms urging the Sikhs not to fly on Air India planes on and after 19th November claiming threat to their lives if they flew on Air India.
Pannun also threatened that Air India would not be allowed to operate in the world.
Pannun’s assertions and threats have triggered a high alert as well as investigations by security forces in Canada, India and certain other countries where Air India flies.
In his video messages, released on November 4, Pannun had urged Sikhs to stop flying on Air India planes on and after the said date, citing potential threat to their lives.
He also issued a warning to the Government of India that “The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) would remain closed on the 19th of November.” IGIA, located in New Delhi, is one of the world’s busiest airports.