WhatsApp messenger has blocked the account of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the legal advisor to pro-Khalistan separatist outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) which is currently leading a campaign for ‘referendum’ for Khalistan, Indian Express reported.
The ban came into effect after SFJ directed Punjab based “Referendum 2020-Khalistan” groups to make the legal advisor Pannun admin of their WhatsApp groups to save the campaigners from the sedition charges.
After a complaint was issued by the government of India, Twitter blocked the legal advisor’s account.
In a statement issued from New York, Pannun said the call to make him the admin of the messenger groups came after the government launched a crackdown against Punjab based Whatsapp admins of “Referendum 2020” groups.
Earlier, the UK government has distanced itself from the issues raised by the pro-Khalistan rally, ‘London Declaration on Referendum 2020’ organised by Sikhs for Justice at London’s Trafalgar Square on August 12 after it triggered a diplomatic row with India.
India warned the UK to take bilateral ties into consideration before allowing groups that “propagate violence, secessionism and hatred” to demonstrate. “Although we allowed the protest to take place, this should not be taken as expressing a view either in support or against. We are clear that this is a question for the people and government of India,” a UK government source said.
The comment came after reports of letters exchanged between Sikhs for Justice and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on the “campaign for Sikh self-determination” were carried. The office turned down the prospect of a short meeting with the separatist group and said that it “encouraged all involved parties to resolve any differences through dialogue”.
In the letter dated August 17 from the ‘Desk Officer of India’ at the FCO said, “The UK is rightly proud of the long-standing tradition in this country that people are free to gather together and demonstrate their views.”
“The British government acknowledges the strength of feeling in the Sikh community regarding the events of 1984, including events at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. We encourage all states to ensure that their domestic laws meet international human rights standards,” it states.