The official Twitter account of BBC News Punjabi has been withheld in India amid a massive police crackdown on radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh.
A message on BBC News Punjabi’s account reads, “account has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand.” Official Twitter handles of several journalists have also been withheld in the country.
Earlier, at least six YouTube channels promoting pro-Khalistan views were “blocked” at the request of the central government. These channels, run from abroad and presenting content in Punjabi, were trying to create “crisis” in the border state, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry said.
The government had urged YouTube to use artificial intelligence and algorithms to automatically identify and block objectionable content on its platform. However, YouTube, in the Indian context, is facing difficulties to heed these requests because of the massive influx of content in regional languages on the platform when their systems are wired to screen content in English only.
The move comes amid a massive operation to arrest fugitive Amritpal Singh, just weeks after his supporters broke into a police station with swords and guns for the release of one of his aides. While Amritpal Singh remains untraceable, several members of his ‘Waris Punjab De’ outfit have been arrested in the crackdown.