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India blocks 35 Pakistan-backed YouTube channels

Diplomacy 2022-01-21, 11:54pm

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Indian Border Security Force



New Delhi, Jan 21 -- India on Friday said that it has blocked as many as 35 Pakistan-backed YouTube channels with over 130 crore views "for spreading fake and misleading information on social media".

The Indian Information and Broadcasting Ministry said the decision to take down the YouTube channels, two Twitter accounts, two Instagram accounts, two websites and one Facebook account operating from Pakistan was made in view of intelligence inputs.

These YouTube channels had been spreading fake news like the Indian government was responsible for the death of this country's first military chief -- General Bipin Rawat -- and that his daughter would accept Islam, the Ministry said.

"The contest is absolutely fake and toxic like the government is responsible for Bipin Rawat's death, North Korean Army is going to Kashmir etc. What sort of nonsense is this," Information secretary Apurva Chandra told the media in the national capital.

"And these YouTube accounts had a total subscriber base of over 1.20 crore. These videos had 130 crore views, which is almost the population of India. Our intelligence agencies are now aware of the situation and more such channels on YouTube will get blocked," he added.

It may be mentioned here that a tri-services probe has already concluded that "human error in cloudy weather" led to the chopper crash that killed India's first military chief, his wife, and 12 other armed forces personnel in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in December last year.

According to the probe report, a sudden cloud cover over Coonoor district in the hilly terrain of the Nilgiris in the southern state of Tamil Nadu led to the military chopper's "unintentional collision with a mountain" on December 8.

Tri-services probe means an investigation by the three branches of the military -- the Indian Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.

The 63-year-old four-star General was on his way to deliver a lecture at Defence Services Staff College in Wellington when the Mi-17 V5 chopper crashed in the Nilgiris and burst into flames. While 13 people on board were killed on the spot, an Air Force officer died later.

General Rawat has had a chequered career in the armed forces spanning over 40 years, rising from the rank of a junior commissioned officer to the Indian Army chief and eventually the first head of the tri-services. He reported directly to the Indian Prime Minister. – UNB