The Sikh Foundation stands with the global Sikh community in expressing our concerns about the current situation in Punjab, with reports of internet shutdowns and restrictions on social media accounts of non-government-aligned reporters, organizations, and members of the public in India and throughout the world.
The state has a long history of social and political unrest, and has been the site of numerous protests and demonstrations in recent years (Farmer’s Protests of 2020-2021). In response, the Indian government has often resorted to heavy-handed tactics, including the use of force and the suspension of basic freedoms like freedom of speech and expression.
The recent suspension of internet services in the state is just the latest example of this. While the government has cited security concerns as the reason for the suspension, many critics argue that it is an attempt to suppress dissent and silence opposition voices. This is particularly troubling given the important role that social media and online platforms play in facilitating the free flow of information and ideas.
Moreover, reports of restrictions on the social media accounts of non-government-aligned reporters and organizations are deeply troubling. These actions are a clear violation of freedom of the press and the right to free speech, and represent a serious threat to democracy and the rule of law. Such actions are unacceptable in a democratic society, and should be strongly condemned by all those who value freedom and human rights.
In light of these concerns, it is essential that civil society organizations, human rights groups, and concerned citizens come together to demand greater transparency, accountability, and respect for human rights from the Indian government. This includes calling for an end to internet shutdowns, the protection of freedom of the press and the right to free speech, and the release of those who have been arbitrarily detained or imprisoned for their peaceful dissent.