On the morning of March 18, 2023, Indian authorities launched a militarized security operation to arrest Sikh leader, Bhai Amritpal Singh. Citing a threat to "public order by incitement to violence" internet services have been suspended across Punjab, and Section 144 of the Indian Code of Criminal Procedure has been invoked to criminalize the gathering of four or more people.
The launch of these operations has been paired with mass censorship of Sikh organizations, journalists, and activists across digital and media platforms, and the suppression of information and expression in attempts to silence dissent and conceal state violence.
Sikhs have been resiliently resisting foreign occupation and mobilizing to re-establish Sikh sovereignty in the Punjab for centuries. However, the movement for Sikh liberation has always been met with resistance from the brahmanical state of India from the very foundation. The Indian state has used various genocidal tactics in attempts to suppress the movement for Sikh sovereignty, such as through the desecration of the Akal Takth in 1984, state-sanctioned murder and rape of hundreds of thousands of Sikhs, sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and ongoing arrest, detainment, torture, and murder of Sikh activists.
According to a report by Access Now, India now accounts for about 58 percent of the world's internet shutdowns, and these internet shutdowns too often coincide with mass human rights abuses.
According to the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), which advocates digital rights and liberties in India, multiple overlapping factors account for the continued and frequent use of such shutdowns.
"These restrictions are often enacted by local administrations on the grounds of 'public emergency' and 'public safety,' in the absence of clearly defined grounds for any such suspension or criteria to determine their effectiveness, leading to arbitrary and excessive application," Prateek Waghre, IFF Policy Director
India is notorious for committing mass atrocities without accountability under the cover of such draconian measures, especially in the areas under its brahminical occupation like Kashmir and Assam. Such tactics feel too familiar to those used by the Indian state before, during, and after 1984 to facilitate the genocide of Sikhs, in which hundreds of thousands of Sikhs have been murdered, or disappeared, at the hands of Indian authorities.
All peoples, including Sikhs, have a right to dissent and have a right to fight for their sovereignty without facing militarized and draconian occupations such as the one undergoing right now in Punjab. What is currently happening in India is a very clear violation of many civil rights and human rights and it is our collective obligation to stand in solidarity with Sikhs and speak out against this unlawful and genocidal occupation.
We stand together in solidarity with Sikhs fighting for their social, political, economic, and spiritual sovereignty. We will not stand by silently as we all bear witness to yet another threat of genocide become reality. For more information, resources and links to news and organizations covering this issue, please view our resources: