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Saturday, Dec 07, 2019

Google gives in to Punjab CM’s demand, takes down mobile app ‘2020 Sikh Referendum’ from Play Store

The app asked people to register themselves to vote in ‘Punjab Referendum 2020 Khalistan’. A website with the address of www.yes2khalistan.org was also launched on similar lines for the same purpose.

india Updated: Nov 20, 2019 05:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
IT giant Google has removed the secessionist, anti-India mobile application, ‘2020 Sikh Referendum’.
IT giant Google has removed the secessionist, anti-India mobile application, ‘2020 Sikh Referendum’.(AP Photo)
         

Giving in to Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s demand, IT giant Google has removed the secessionist, anti-India mobile application, ‘2020 Sikh Referendum’, from its Play Store with immediate effect.

Stating this here on Tuesday, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that this app was not available any more on Google Play Store for mobile users in India.

The chief minister, who had also urged the central government to persuade Google in the matter, had asked the state police chief to coordinate with central security agencies to tackle the threat resulting from the launch of the app, created by ‘ICETECH’.

The app asked people to register themselves to vote in ‘Punjab Referendum 2020 Khalistan’. A website with the address of www.yes2khalistan.org was also launched on similar lines for the same purpose.

During an analysis of the application and the website in the DITAC Lab, Punjab, it was found that the data of voters registered through the app was also linked and stored in the web server of the website, created and handled by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), an association banned by the Government of India.

Based on these findings, the cyber crime centre of the Bureau of Investigation, Punjab, moved to get the app removed from Google Play Store and the website blocked in India.

On November 8, a notice under Section 79 (3) B of the Information Technology Act was sent to the Google legal cell for immediate removal of the app. After approval from the additional chief secretary, home, a request was sent to the cyber law division, department of electronics and information and technology, Government of India, for blocking the application from Play Store and the website.

On November 9, inspector general, crime, Nageshwar Rao, and the state cyber-cum-DITAC Lab in-charge, raised the issue with the legal cell of Google India, which was convinced that the Google platform was abused for illegal and anti-national activities by Sikhs For Justice. This was followed by the decision to remove the app from Play Store.