A day before the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor between India and Pakistan, Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday took up the issue of a secessionist, anti-India app with Google and even urged the Centre to direct the company to take down the ‘2020 Sikh Referendum’ app immediately.
“The state government has taken up the issue with Google,” an official spokesperson said. Acting on the chief minister’s directive, Punjab Police chief Dinkar Gupta is also coordinating with central security agencies to tackle the threat triggered by the launch of the controversial app, just ahead of the opening of the corridor.
The app, freely available for download on Google Play, is aimed at pushing the ISI agenda of dividing the Sikh community amid the 550th Prakash Purb celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, the chief minister said, demanding that the app be immediately taken off.
“How and why did Google allow such an app to be uploaded by a known radical extremist group in the first place is questionable,” Amarinder said, expressing shock at the IT company’s irresponsible actions. “Google should remove the app from Playstore without a minute’s delay if it does not want to be perceived to be supporting an extremist group,” he said.
The chief minister said the development raises serious concerns about the security threat to Punjab specifically, and to India as a whole. The timing of the launch of the app indicates a patently sinister agenda by ISI to leverage the opportunity created by the Kartarpur Corridor to divide the Indian Sikh community, said Amarinder, who has been repeatedly cautioning India against the ISI design behind the Pakistani decision to open the corridor.
Pointing out that the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), under whose guise the ISI has been pushing Referendum 2020, had been declared an unlawful association under UAPA by the central government some months ago, the chief minister said the organisation’s brazen involvement in violent acts had prompted the action against it.
However, with the sustained support of ISI, the SFJ continued to push its anti-India campaign, and the Google app was just the latest in the series of tools it was employing to further its agenda, he added.
Underlining the need for India to stay on high alert in the light of the persistent attempts by ISI to destabilise Punjab with its secessionist activities, Amarinder reiterated that extreme caution would have to be exercised on the momentous occasion of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor. While every Sikh aspired for `darshan’ at the historic gurdwara, Pakistan should not try to play any games that threaten the integrity and peace of the country.