Google Removes "2020 Sikh Referendum" App Promoting Secession: Punjab Government

"Sikhs for Justice", a group based abroad and banned by India, has been lobbying for Punjab's secession through its "2020 Sikh Referendum" campaign.

Google Removes '2020 Sikh Referendum' App Promoting Secession: Punjab Government

Captain Amarinder Singh has accused Pakistan's ISI of being involved in the campaign

Chandigarh:

Google has removed the anti-India mobile app ''2020 Sikh Referendum'' from its Play Store after the Punjab government took up the matter with the IT giant, an official said on Tuesday.

The app is not available anymore on Google Play Store for mobile phone users in India, a Punjab government spokesperson said.

"Sikhs for Justice", a group based abroad and banned by India, has been lobbying for Punjab's secession through its "2020 Sikh Referendum" campaign.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has accused Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence of being involved in the campaign.

Earlier this month, he asked state government officials to approach Google and also coordinate with central government agencies to ensure that the new app is pulled out.

A notice under section 79(3)B of the Information Technology Act was sent to Google on November 8, seeking removal of the app created by "ICETECH".

The app asked mobile users to register themselves, in an apparent attempt to show support for secession.

An analysis of the app and the website at Punjab's DITAC Lab found that the data of people who register was stored in the server of the website created by the banned "Sikhs for Justice", it said.

The Cyber Crime Centre of Punjab's Bureau of Investigation then moved to get the app removed and the website blocked, and sent Google the notice.

The state government also approached the Cyber Law Division of the Department of Electronics and Information and Technology at the Centre, asking it to invoke a rule that allows blocking of such websites.

Inspector General of Police (Crime) Nageshwar Rao, who is in charge of the state's State Cyber-cum-DITAC Lab, raised the issue with the Google India's legal cell on November 9.

The state government said Google India was then convinced that its platform was abused by the banned association for committing "illegal and anti-national activities".

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