Punjab CM alleges ISI hand in '2020 Sikh Referendum app', demands removal

Amarinder Singh, CM candidate of Congress in Punjab

Reacting to reports of the launching of a secessionist, anti-India app by Google, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday directed state officials to take up the matter with the IT giant and urged the Centre to direct the company to take it down immediately.

An official statement said DGP Dinkar Gupta was coordinating with the central security agencies to tackle the threat triggered by the launch of the '2020 Sikh Referendum' app, just a day ahead of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor.

The app, freely available for download on Google Play, clearly aimed at pushing the ISI agenda of dividing the Sikh community amid the birth anniversary celebrations of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, said the chief minister.

"How and why Google allowed such an app to be uploaded by a known radical extremist group in the first place is questionable," said the chief minister, expressing shock at the IT company's "irresponsible act".

He asserted that Google should remove the app without any delay if it did not want to be perceived to be supporting an extremist group.

The chief minister also said the development raised concern over the security threat to Punjab and India as a whole.

The timing of the launch of the app indicated a patently sinister agenda of the ISI to leverage the opportunity created by the Kartarpur corridor to divide the Indian Sikh community, said Amarinder Singh, who has been repeatedly cautioning against the security agency's design behind the opening of the corridor.

He said the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), under whose "guise the ISI had been pushing Referendum 2020", was declared an unlawful association by the Centre some months.

However, with the sustained support of the ISI, the SFJ continued to push its anti-India campaign and the app was 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 the ISI to destabilise Punjab with its secessionist activities, Amarinder Singh reiterated that extreme caution would have to be exercised during the opening of the Kartarpur corridor.

While every Sikh aspired for the 'darshan' at the historic Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara, Pakistan should not try to play any games that threaten the integrity and peace of the country, he said.

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