Gurpreet Singh: Facebook criticized for blocking Punjabi website offering secular view of India

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      Facebook has blocked Punjab-based Suhi Saver, a website that covers alternative politics, allegedly under pressure from supporters of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

      Its publisher and editor, Shiv Inder Singh, is a critic of religious fanaticism and is known for his progressive and secular views.

      He earlier used to give daily updates to a Vancouver-based Punjabi radio station, which also terminated his services, reportedly under pressure from the pro-BJP lobby.

      A few days ago, Singh noticed that Facebook had stopped displaying posts from Suhi Saver. The provocation appears to be the publication of a Punjabi translation of an article by Vancouver-based journalist Gurpreet Singh (the author of this article).

      The article was critical of the growing media censorship under the BJP government. It was based on a speech that Gurpreet Singh delivered at the Vancouver Public Library during Freedom to Read Week.

      Though it was posted by two English-language websites—including Straight.com—Suhi Saver was the first Punjabi website to publish its Punjabi version. After Singh was unable to share it on Facebook, he noticed that many other Suhi Saver articles had also disappeared from the social media platform.

      Chandigarh journalist Shiv Inder Singh speaks out in Punjabi over his publication being blocked on Facebook.

      He later found that this was done following complaints against his website, possibly from BJP supporters who have a very powerful IT cell. Singh said that he was falsely accused of spreading hatred, and wasn’t given an opportunity to explain his side of the story. 

      Many of his followers on social media have condemned Facebook's action and have expressed their solidarity with him.

      Gurpreet Singh is a Georgia Straight contributor and a founder of Radical Desi. He's working on a book tentatively titled Canada's 9/11: Lessons from the Air India BombingsHe has a Facebook page called We Are All Untouchables!!! 

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