Saturday, March 25, 2023

Indian Government Cut Mobile Internet/SMS in Punjab Over Manhunt for Sikh Activist

Manpreet Singh, center, raises his fist while demonstrating against the Indian government outside the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on March 20, 2023.Photograph: NOAH BERGER/Getty Images 

People living in the Indian state of Punjab grappled with an internet shutdown for days after police imposed a connectivity blackout while searching for the Sikh activist Amritpal Singh. Singh is a member of the Sikh Waris Punjab De movement and recently evaded arrest. More than 100 of his supporters have been arrested. Punjab's 27 million inhabitants faced mobile data and SMS blocking as well as traffic filtering on certain websites and services. For example, the government appeared to have blocked access to prominent Sikh Twitter accounts, including that of poet Rupi Kaur and the nonprofit United Sikhs. “Punjab Police India continued its crackdown on Waris Punjab De elements wanted on criminal charges,” the government of Punjab said in a Facebook post on Monday. “Amritpal Singh remains a fugitive, and efforts are being made to arrest him.” Protests have erupted in Punjab and around the world over law enforcement treatment of Sikh Waris Punjab De and the internet shutdown.

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