Washington/New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS) Twitter has suspended the account of the pro-Khalistan Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), whose demonstration outside the Indian Embassy in Washington on Republic Day turned out to be a flop show with tricolour-waving Indian Americans outnumbering members of the fringe group.
Sources in New Delhi on Sunday said only 15 to 20 people turned up for Saturday’s SFJ demonstration and “they were completely outnumbered by flag waving, enthusiastic and patriotic Indians”.
Journalist Seema Sirohi posted on Twitter at @seemasirohi from Washington: “The Khalistanis tried but lost the battle of slogan shouting. Bollywood songs and spirited counter shouting of pro-India slogans endured for three hours on a bitterly cold day.”
Her post included a video of the Washington demonstration that showed some counter-protesters also shouting slogans against Pakistan. Police were seen standing by in the video.
The source in New Delhi described the SFJ as “a fringe group backed by Pakistan, clearly bringing out the nefarious design of Pakistan to stir up trouble”.
Meanwhile, Twitter suspended SFJ’s account with a terse notice, “Account suspended: This account has been suspended.”
While it did not specify the reason for banning SFJ’s account, Twitter’s rules say its service cannot be used “for any unlawful purposes or in furtherance of illegal activities.”
The source in New Delhi source said the sparse turnout “demonstrates the hollow claim of SFJ that they enjoy wide support”.
According to the sources, most of the demonstrators were Pakistanis.
“SFJ’s claim on their website that they burnt an Indian flag outside the Embassy is completely false,” the source added.
“The claim is intended to cover up for their flop show.”
Although banned on Twitter, SFJ accounts were active on Facebook and Instagram, where its postings showed what were purported to be Republic Day protests by the group in several places outside India.
On Twitter, hashtags like #BurnTheTricolor, #SikhReferendum2020 and #FreeKhalistan were active, but showed posts both for and against those proposals.