Foreign soils have become home to international campaigns aimed at criticizing India and leveraging the powerful and pervasive medium of social media. Numerous organizations and social media accounts, subsidizing such campaigns, strive to portray India in a manner that disregards the rights of minorities within the country.
Supporters of Khalistan use these campaigns as occurrences to advance their anti-India agenda. These happenings are like fuel to the fire for Khalistan advocates, propelling their anti-India mission forward. The fervor of Khalistani support groups continues to blaze across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
The DFRAC team has recently discovered the presence of a Khalistani gang operating in Britain, as detailed in a comprehensive report. To access the report, click this link. This report presents an analysis of the proliferation of Khalistan Propaganda in Australia and the extent of support it receives from Pakistani users.
The following are the report’s key points:
- Indian diplomats and embassies on the target of Khalistanis
- Continuous push of Khalistan propaganda by Pakistan
- Khalistani separatists’ devotion to Imran Khan and the PTI
- An Analysis of Twitter Accounts Supporting the Khalistani Movement
Indian diplomats and embassies on the target of Khalistanis
These Khalistani groups not only find solace on foreign shores but also orchestrate spirited marches against India with alarming regularity. Presently, they pose a threat to Indian diplomats and organizations associated with separatist Khalistanis who have resorted to hampering Indian missions. Additionally, Khalistani supporters have plastered provocative posters, depicting Indian diplomats, in a bid to stoke the flames of controversy.
“Khalistani supporters in Canada have once again targeted the security of the India Consulate,” according to a report in Amar Ujala. “This time, anti-India posters have been placed at the Indian Consulate’s entrance gate in Vancouver. India has filed a formal complaint with Canadian authorities. These posters were identical to those seen in Surrey and Vancouver last week. These posters included images of India’s High Commissioner in Ottawa, as well as Consulates General in Vancouver and Toronto, with the word ‘Wanted’ printed on them. According to an Indian official, this occurrence has been brought to the notice of local authorities. Canadian Khalistani followers have also issued warnings to surround Indian embassies on August 15th.” (Translated into English)
Before this, there have been instances of sympathizers to the Khalistan movement organizing demonstrations against India in Canada, which have included the display of signs ridiculing Indian diplomats.
According to ABP News, “pro-Khalistan supporters in various cities across the United Kingdom, America, and Canada are organizing rallies against India on July 8. Rallies are being orchestrated under the banner of ‘Kill India’, with the intention of collecting funds for Khalistani propaganda and enticing Sikh youth. These gatherings are being organized under the pretense of association with Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a known Khalistani terrorist. In Toronto, Sikh separatists have disseminated posters featuring images of Indian diplomats, accusing them of being responsible for Nijjar’s demise.”
When Khalistani supporters organized this demonstration in Canada, the Indian diaspora in Canada swiftly rallied outside the Indian Embassy, resonating with the chantings of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ while waving the tricolor. This event witnessed intense verbal exchanges from both factions, leading to a confrontational atmosphere. This was not the inaugural clash between the Khalistani supporters and the Indian community, for they had previously engaged in a similar spectacle outside the Indian embassy in London.
Additionally, the temple premises were subjected to acts of vandalism by individuals in Canada who support the Khalistani movement. According to Amar Ujala’s report- “The sign at Shri Bhagavad Gita Park in Brampton city of Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Canada was vandalized on Friday. This is the latest in a string of such humiliations in a year. The damaged sign was found on Friday morning with graffiti attacking India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the maintenance personnel immediately removed the graffiti and restored the sign to its original position.”(Translated into English)
Continuous push of Khalistani propaganda by Pakistan
Pakistan and its vibrant social media community have been fervently championing the cause of Khalistan, with some even demonstrating an unwavering commitment for the establishment of a diplomatic mission in the region. Additionally, they frequently promote hashtags on Twitter in favor of Khalistan. The extent of Pakistan’s backing for Khalistan is evident in the ongoing dissemination of misinformation by its social media users.
Previously as well, the DFRAC team has brought to light the dissemination of propaganda by Pakistani users. During our investigation on Twitter, we specifically searched for the phrase “Khalistan Zindabad” and discovered the involvement of other Pakistani accounts promoting similar messages. The enclosed screenshots serve as visual substantiation of these posts.
These accounts in the screenshots had shared videos depicting pro-Khalistani graffiti which was found at Durga Temple in Bathinda. They accompanied the tweets with the question, “Are you ready in Australia?”
Khalistani separatists’ devotion to Imran Khan and the PTI
The Twitter handles, which are hellbent on spreading falsehoods in support of Khalistani secession, just can’t seem to get enough of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his political party, the PTI. Not only do they religiously follow the official accounts of PTI and Imran Khan, these accounts frequently engage with liking and sharing of their tweets.
In Pakistan, there has been a persistent surge in social media engagement aimed at advancing the Khalistan movement. Numerous bot accounts have been created with the purpose of promoting this cause. The videos of Gurpatwant Singh Pannu (member of Sikh For Justice), stands at the forefront, which are used by such bot accounts for orchestrating a symphony to amplify the Khalistan movement. The tweets originating from these accounts are exact duplicates, all shared within a brief timeframe. The attached collage visually represents the repetitive nature of the copy-paste pattern observed.
The photograph of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was used in these tweets, coupled with terms like ‘Hindu terrorist,’ and an attempt was made to create a hostile atmosphere in Australia on May 23-24, 2023. The reason behind these tweets was Prime Minister Modi’s tour planned to Australia on May 23.
During his official visit on May 23, Prime Minister Modi addressed the issue of temple attacks and the Khalistan movement with the Australian government, leading to the cancellation of a planned public gathering in support of Khalistan. The Sydney Masonic Center (SMC) had initially organized this campaign, which was scheduled to occur in an Australian city on Sunday, June 4. Local media reports indicate that the SMC cited concerns over security risks and potential harm to the community as reasons for the event’s cancellation.
The graph presented below illustrates the upward trend in the quantity of tweets that have been copied and pasted. These tweets originated at 11:30 PM on May 13th and have subsequently experienced a gradual rise in frequency.
After analyzing the data of accounts that posted identical copy-paste content, it has been determined that a minimum of 10-15 new accounts tweeted the same content. These accounts sprouted into existence between February 5, 2023, and May 13, 2023. The following information provides details about some of these accounts, including their creation time and User ID information.
Multiple Pakistani accounts have engaged in the act of retweeting and disseminating the tweets originating from @_Khalsa_00 and @SaffronDiaries pertaining to the topic of Khalistan.
Similar accounts have also been observed to portray Arshdeep Singh as a proponent of Khalistan and employ hashtags such as #Khalistan and #KhalistanZindabad.
An Analysis of Twitter Accounts Supporting the Khalistani Movement
The following timeline provides an overview of the establishment of social media profiles advocating for Khalistan. In recent months, there has been a notable surge in the creation of accounts supporting Khalistani ideology. The sequence of events commenced on March 21st, with the creation of 17 accounts. Subsequently, the number of accounts created experienced an upward trend in March-April 2023, with 16 accounts being established on April 18th.
It is evident from the pie chart below that the majority of accounts, accounting for 43.8%, were created in March 2023, with an average of approximately 150 new accounts generated each month. Subsequently, in April, 38.5% of accounts were formed, resulting in the establishment of 130 new accounts. Prior to this, 11.8% of accounts were established in February.
We have come across an account named “Agent of Truth” which presents itself as a CIA operative. This account also asserts to be an individual of American Sikh descent.
Account: Agent of Truth | User name:@Shawn_Singh1974 | User id: 1546889625045712896
The individual promoting the truth is also supportive of the ideology advocating for the establishment of Khalistan, as evidenced by the accompanying screenshots displaying their endorsement of the movement.
The winds of Khalistani separatism, which opposes India are blowing over the foreign lands, gaining support from individuals sympathetic to the Khalistani cause.
Numerous countries are witnessing open activities by Khalistani supporters, and staging demonstrations near Indian embassies that shake the very foundations of diplomacy. Controversial posters are also being plastered by these Khalistani supporters regarding Indian diplomats, which is becoming a matter of serious challenge for India.