LONDON: The Centre for Info Resilience (CIR) has uncovered a community of faux profiles of Sikh influencers created to focus on the farmer protests in India in addition to the Khalistan motion.
The CIR report — titled ‘Evaluation of the #RealSikh Affect Operation’ — recognized a core community of faux accounts that focused “other accounts supportive of Indian nationalism in order to spread and amplify the content and narratives generated by the core network”.
The report exposes a coordinated affect operation that makes use of faux personas on a number of social media platforms to advertise narratives arguing that “real” Sikhs help the Indian authorities and Indian nationalism, and that advocates of Sikh autonomy and independence are extremist or terrorist.
A number of the faux community’s messaging included statements calling for motion comparable to Indian “Nationalists shouldn’t remain watching silently” and that they “need to counter and expose them [the Khalistani movement for Sikh independence]” to “save India” from “Pakistan, Canada, UK, and US”.
All these accounts used repetitive hashtags comparable to #RealSikhAgainstKhalistanis #Khalistanis #SikhRejectKhalistan.
“The network increased its activity since the commencement of the farmers’ protests in India. Both the farmers’ protests and the Khalistan independence movement have been the two most frequently targeted subjects of the core network of fake accounts,” the report acknowledged.
The content material produced by these accounts was additionally endorsed by numerous verified accounts who labored with these accounts, suggesting that there was a coordinated govt backed exercise.
Many high-profile accounts have been discovered to be concerned in targeted concentrating on of Sikhs For Justice’s Basic-Counsel Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who’s operating the Khalistan Referendum marketing campaign for the separation of Punjab from India. All these accounts that printed Pannun’s cartoon memes known as him a Pakistani agent, faux Sikh and enemy of India and Sikhs.
One person tweeted Narendra Modi, kicking Pannun whereas he’s operating away. The tweet learn: “The reply of a #RealSikh to the #FakeSikh Pannun. Dear Pannu, there is no place for Khalistan and no Sikh wants Khalistan.”
One other faux Twitter person woman wrote: “There is the difference between a #RealSikh and “Fakesikh, whom you want to follow? A “RealSikh who died fighting for our country or a #FakeSikh who spreads #KhalistanTerrorism at Pakistan’s behest? Salute to Subedar Singh and #ShameOnPannu.”
“Our research shows a coordinated effort to distort perceptions and discredit the push for Sikh independence, label Sikh political interests as extremist, stoke cultural tensions within India and international communities, and promote Indian government content,” CIR Investigations Director Benjamin Strick mentioned.
“The network amplified its messaging on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram through a core network of accounts that used profile pictures stolen from celebrity social media accounts and used names common in Sikh communities to appear as legitimate members of the Sikh community,” Strick added.
The report mentioned: “The network’s advocacy that supporters of Sikh independence are extremist or terrorist, and that Indian nationalists must take action against them, may contribute to an environment in which some actors consider intimidation of, or violence towards, the Sikh community as legitimate.”
The CIR mentioned it had collected the information of 398 accounts that had preferred, retweeted or commented on tweets that used the hashtags #RealSikhsAgainstKhalistan, #SikhsRejectKhalistan and #RealSikhs. These have been three hashtags that gave the impression to be generally used within the community, notably by accounts with bigger numbers of followers.
The CIR examined that a number of of those accounts used the surname “Kaur” – a typical surname for Sikh girls because it means “princess”.
Different surnames that appeared within the core community of faux accounts have been Dahiya, Singh and Sandhu, all of that are additionally frequent Sikh surnames.
The usage of these names, together with the faux profile footage and the “proud to be Sikh” slogans typically seen tweeted from the accounts, seems to point that these accounts needed to be seen as Sikhs to ensure that their narratives on Sikh agendas to be influential.
The affect operation used accounts throughout Twitter, Fb and Instagram to advertise Hindu nationalism and pro-Indian authorities narratives.
The BBC printed the report on an unique foundation and mentioned that there isn’t a proof linking this community instantly with the Indian authorities, nevertheless it’s believed that such techniques are utilized routinely by the BJP authorities to affect minds and beforehand lots of of accounts have been suspended for being concerned in coordinated exercise towards Sikhs, Pakistan and dissenting Indian voices.