As India readies itself to host the G20 Summit in New Delhi on September 9-10, a slew of anti-India groups have seized the opportunity to disseminate negative propaganda against the nation. Among these groups, the pro-Khalistan organization known as ‘Sikh for Justice’ (SJF) has emerged as a prominent player, orchestrating campaigns both domestically and internationally to spread its agenda. Particularly active in countries like Canada, where it has found a major hub, the group’s activities have taken on new urgency in the lead-up to the G20 Summit.
A disconcerting facet of SJF’s endeavors is its negative social media campaign aimed at the G20 Summit. The organization has strategically employed hashtags such as #Khalistan, #Delhi, #G20India2023, #SFJ, #KhalistanReferendum, and #DelhiMetro to dominate trending conversations on social media platforms. The timing of these campaigns is meant to coincide with the international spotlight on India due to the G20 Summit.
The latest unsettling incident linked to SJF’s anti-India activities involves the defacement of Delhi Metro property on August 27, with secessionist and pro-Khalistan slogans. The banned terror group SFJ has been implicated in these acts of graffiti, indicative of a continued push for its separatist agenda. Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the chief of Sikh For Justice (SFJ), has released a video where he discusses the pro-Khalistan graffiti at Delhi Metro stations and issues threats targeting the G20 Summit and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Beyond online campaigns and graffiti, the group’s ambitions stretch further. It has taken on the mantle of protecting gangsters in Punjab, further complicating the region’s law enforcement challenges. The SJF’s methods also encompass enlisting influencers on various social media platforms who actively advocate for Khalistan and Sikh-related issues, solidifying the movement’s online presence.
A notable event in SJF’s agenda is the planned ‘Khalistan Referendum’ in Surrey, Canada, on September 10. This event aims to thrust the issue of a separate Khalistan state into the global spotlight, highlighting the urgency and intensity with which the movement is pursuing its objectives.
The emergence and persistence of such groups underscore the complexities of managing dissent and extremist narratives in an interconnected world. As India prepares to host a global summit, it faces the dual challenge of ensuring security and managing the narrative around its image on the international stage. While freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy, the line between legitimate expression and potentially destabilizing propaganda can be thin.