India is ready to take center stage as the host of the highly anticipated G-20 summit. This summit holds immense significance for the world, as it presents an opportunity for the emerging global economy to take a historic leap forward under India’s inclusive and ambitious leadership. Moreover, the timing of this meeting couldn’t be more crucial, considering the recent shifts in international politics.
The entire world, including the African Union, is closely observing this G-20 Summit, as India has proposed the inclusion of the African Union in the summit, further amplifying the significance of this event.
But what made us to write this report?
There’s always one actor who never fails to step forward and oppose India with unwavering consistency, and that is none other than Pakistan. However, this time it’s not only our neighbour, but a coalition of Khalistani supporters and foreign entities, all joining forces to raise their voices against India.The sheer determination of these state actors to disrupt the event has compelled us to expose their intricate web of relentless propaganda aimed at sabotaging the G20 preparations.
The subsequent sections of this report will provide comprehensive coverage of the following points:
- Social Media Outcry by Khalistanis against G-20
- SFJ Terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannu’s Threats Against G-20 in India
- Endorsement of Khalistan by Pakistani authorities and individuals
- Voices of Foreign Entities against the G-20 in India
1. Social Media Outcry by Khalistanis against G-20
“Khalistan referendum zindabad” and “Delhi banega Khalistan”- these were the slogans found recently written on the walls of the metro stations in New Delhi by the banned outfit ‘Sikhs for Justice’ Meanwhile, a purported video by SFJ leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannu surfaced on social media where he can be observed issuing threats to India and cautioning G-20 nations.This video of Gurpatwant Singh Pannu was peddled on social media with the caption – “#G20India2023 #Khalistan RPG attack on Delhi Metro stations – “The fight for #G20 continues till 9/11″ – SFJ”. Additionally, an official letterhead of Sikhs for Justice was circulated , detailing their intentions to deface India and disrupt the upcoming G20 summit.
In the quest to spread the video far and wide, the devious minds behind SFJ birthed a legion of bot accounts on Twitter, solely dedicated to this mission. During the investigation, what caught the eye was the sheer volume of tweets, all duplicating with SFJ videos and hashtags, diligently fulling their purpose of creation.
We provide you with the list of bot accounts that actively contribute to the propagation of SFJ’s narrative. The list contains the user ID, username, name, and the month in which each bot account was created.
- Replication of Pro-Khalistan Posts through Copy-Paste Method
The individuals who shared these posts featuring SFJ and the video of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun were consistently using the same caption. These users not only posted these materials themselves, but they also retweeted them. Each user has tweeted approximately 400 to 500 times, with some users exceeding 1000 tweets. It appears that these users were attempting to make the hashtag trend by generating a high volume of tweets and retweets .They aimed to enhance the impressions of their account and consequently promote specific keywords aligned with their agenda.
The timeline of the 16 users whose data has been obtained by DFRAC reveals that only similar posts, consisting of tweets and retweets, can be observed. The graph below illustrates a selection of these automated accounts and the number of tweets they published, all of which were directed towards the G20 in India.
These bot accounts were meticulously crafted to amplify SFJ’s tweets and videos, in which Pannu can be seen targetting the G-20 and PM Narendra Modi.
It has been observed that khalistanis frequently resort to the utilization of bot accounts in order to circulate their posts , hashtags aligned with their agenda. This year, a substantial number of accounts, exceeding 300, were generated to share Pannun’s video prior to Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Australia between February and April 2023. Over 100 new accounts were also created to promote hashtags such as #G20IgnoringHRViolationsInIIOJK and #G20_Boycott_Meeting_in_IIOJK. The graph below will provide with the proliferation details of these bot accounts.
2. SFJ Terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannu’s Threats Against G-20 in India
After the Delhi Metro slogans, Pannun once again released the video and audio messages.In the audio clip, Pannu can be heard making threats against India, specifically provoking Kashmiri Muslims to leave the Kashmir valley and gather in Delhi to disrupt the G-20 summit. Additionally, Pannu threatens to lead a march on Pragati Maidan following Friday prayers. These tweets openly declared the intention of the SFJ to hoist the Khalistani flag at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. These posts also called for the release of Pritpal Kaka, warning of potential actions during the G-20 summit if their demands are not met.
The audio clip in question has been widely disseminated by automated accounts on the social media platform Twitter, as evidenced by the compilation of images provided below.
3. Endorsement of Khalistan by Pakistani Authorities and Individuals
- Shafaat Shah (@INFANTRY28)-
Shafaat Shah, with the handle @INFANTRY28, has a substantial following of 32.2K folllowers and active engangement on twitter with 37.8K tweets. He has indicated his geographical location as Lahore, Pakistan, in his profile. His bio reveals that he holds the title of a retired Lieutenant General of Pakistan, having previously served as the Military Secretary (MS) to the President of Pakistan, as well as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Jordan.
- Shafaat Shah’s tweet on G-20:
Shafaat Shah has extensively shared his thoughts on the G-20 summit taking place in India . In one of his tweets, he expressed his belief that China’s actions appear to be a strategic maneuver aimed at presenting India with two unfavorable options – compromising its national pride or canceling the G-20 summit altogether. He further opined at the very least, the G-20 summit will be held in a fragmented manner, reflecting the challenges stirred by China’s actions.
- Shafaat Shah’s tweet in support of Khalistan:
He consistently expresses his support for the Khalistan movement through his Twitter account. He has repeatedly endorsed the demand for Khalistan and referred to its proponents as freedom fighters.One of his tweets stated that the Sikhs advocating for Khalistan, should not be labeled as terrorists but rather recognized as freedom fighters. He further emphasized that these individuals constitute a significant majority among the 24 million Sikhs residing in India and the 3 million Sikhs residing abroad. Shah also highlighted that the referendum results largely align with this sentiment. He questioned the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on how long they intend to mislead the international community by categorizing the freedom struggles in Jammu-Kashmir, Khalistan, Nagaland, and other northern states as acts of terrorism.
In a tweet, Shah even proposes the idea in support of khalistan embassy opening in Pakistan.
In another post, Shafaat expressed the belief that the establishment of Khalistan is an inevitable outcome and will not be hampered by the arrest of Amritpal Singh, or any other similar leader. These arrests would also not deter the emergence of additional leaders advocating for Khalistan. He also commented that the ruling regime of BJP/RSS would be unable to suppress this movement for independence, comparing the situation to Jammu and Kashmir. This is due to the unwavering support of Sikhs worldwide, who continue to fuel the struggle for separation from India and also mentioned an ongoing referendum within the QUAD alliance of India and Australia.
- Shafaat Shah’s fake news in support of Khalistan:
Shafaat Shah has been known to circulate false information on multiple occasions in order to advocate for the cause of Khalistan. In a tweet, he alleged that the Khalistan flag was raised atop the historic Red Fort of India during the farmers’ protest in 2021.
Based on media reports, it was clarified that the flag raised at the Red Fort was not of Khalistan, but rather the revered Nishan Sahib flag of Sikhism. The Nishan Sahib holds significant religious importance as the sacred flag of the Khalsa Panth, present in all Gurdwaras across the nation. Additionally, it is also the esteemed flag of the Sikh Regiment within the Indian Army.
Fake News 2-
He also alleged that banners endorsing the Khalistan movement were displayed in the prominent Times Square of New York. Accompanied by a photograph, he asserted, “Khalistan movement banners observed at the highly frequented locale of Times Square in New York.”
Our team conducted a thorough examination of this photograph and uncovered evidence of manipulation, wherein a Khalistan poster was superimposed onto an image of New York’s Time Square. The original photograph, as depicted here, features a poster of HSBC Bank.
- Usman Mughal (@Usman_Moghal):
Usman Mughal, a Twitter user with a substantial following of 161,000, recently made a statement in Urdu asserting that Russia, in addition to China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia, has declined participation in the upcoming G-20 conference to be hosted by India. Usman further writes that this development reflects the effectiveness of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
The claim made by Usman Mughal is Fake. There is no veracity to the claim that any G-20 member nation has declined participation in the forthcoming G-20 summit in India. Notably, Prime Minister Li Qiang of China, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, and numerous other heads of state from various nations are confirmed to attend the summit.
- Singh-M (@reach2msingh):
Singh-M, a Twitter user, prominently displays the Indian tricolor in their profile photo and identifies their location as ‘India’. However, it has come to attention that this user has been sharing false and deceptive information regarding the participation of certain member countries in the upcoming G-20 meeting.
Specifically, Singh-M has asserted in a post that China, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia will not be attending the summit
The user has subsequently asserted comparable allegations regarding Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey through distinct tweets, which are visually presented in the accompanying collage.
According to media reports, Prime Minister Li Qiang is scheduled to participate in the G-20 summit hosted by India on behalf of China. Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected to visit India. However, it should be noted that Egypt, contrary to some claims, is not a member of the G-20 countries.
4. Foreign Entities voicing against the G-20 in India
- IAMC’s campaign against the G20:
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC),a US-based advocacy organization of Indian American Muslims ,is also not behind in the passing on of information regarding the upcoming G20 Summit in India. On August 24, the IAMC took to Twitter to highlight US President Joe Biden’s visit to India for the summit, further commenting “ minority persecution skyrockets in the country”.
The Indian American Muslim Council also convened a virtual meeting to discuss the possibility of arranging a session on the following topics:
- The potential risks associated with India hosting the G-20 summit.
- The reported instances of human rights violations subsequent to Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United States.
- The ongoing political ramifications of the United States’ endorsement of the Indian government.
- Strategies for engagement and activism within the American context.
It has been observed that following the tweet by @IAMCouncil regarding the webinar session, numerous US social media accounts have actively tweeted to extend invitations and encourage registrations for the session organized by IAMC. Prominent individuals and organizations who shared IAMC’s tweet include Suchitra Vijayan (renowned author and founder of Police Project and Watch the State), Arun Sethi (American author specializing in civil and political rights and human rights law), Hindu American Foundation, Muslims for Just Futures, and Deepa Iyer (South Asian American writer, lawyer, and activist).
The moment India secured the prestigious hosting rights for the G-20 summit,the Indian American Muslim Council in no time swiftly engaged in anti-India propaganda. Notably, upon the announcement of the G-20 tourist group meeting in Kashmir, they promptly initiated its agenda by expressing opposition to the gathering through social media platforms.
The post made by the IAMC Twitter account regarding the G-20 gained significant interest, given the account’s substantial following of over 178,000 followers.
A word cloud has been generated to analyze the tweets posted by IAMC, revealing the prevalent words utilized in these tweets. The analysis indicates that the tweets pertaining to the G-20 prominently featured terms such as “Boycott,” “IndiaGenocideNews,” “Kashmir,” and “anti-minority.”
- The New Democratic Party’s Anti-G20 Campaign:
The New Democratic Party (NDP) of Canada has also initiated an anti-G20 campaign, urging for a boycott of the summit for a boycott of the G-20 over Kashmir and India. Upon visiting the official website of the NDP, we discovered a registration page that appeals Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take a firm stance against the mistreatment of minority groups in India and to support the boycott of the G20 summit.
In the document, the New Democratic Party (NDP) expressed their stance by stating that Jagmeet Singh and the NDP are urging Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government to take the following actions:
- Refrain from participating in any G-20 event taking place in Chandigarh and Kashmir.
- Prohibit the entry of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) officials from India who have issued threats against minorities and elected officials in Canada.
- Guarantee the protection and well-being of Canadian citizens residing overseas.
One message stated, “Express support for Jagmeet Singh and urge Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party to adopt a firm stance against human rights violations in India.”
It was found that following the NDP’s appeal to boycott the G-20, several Pakistani news media have published an article on it. Some renowned media houses including The Siasat Daily, The Nation, Pakistan Observer, and Associated Press of Pakistan, have also published the news.
On the other hand, the NDP’s appeal was promoted on Twitter by the IAMC and Pakistan’s Dunya News. And lo and behold, the Pakistani Twitter Army swiftly took the charge and shared this news far and wide.
NDP’s proposal got further supported by the World Sikh Organization (WSO), a Khalistani organization. On March 21, 2023, they issued a letter expressing their endorsement of the NDP’s proposal to abstain from participating in G-20 events held in India. In the letter, WSO President Tajinder Singh Sidhu asserted that the Indian government’s capacity to preside over the G-20 and host its member nations is compromised due to a perceived deficiency in credibility and moral authority.
The upcoming G-20 summit in India, which carries the promise of international cooperation and economic progress, has unfortunately become a focal point for various controversies and challenges as well. Worries stem from malicious online campaigns,whether orchestrated by Khalistan advocates, factions within Pakistan, or foreign entities such as the Indian American Muslim Council and Canada’s NDP. It is imperative to acknowledge that the neighboring nation persistently partakes in malevolent actions, disregarding the auspiciousness of this occasion.