By Atul Aneja
New Delhi, Mar 25: In the information war launched against the Indian state by the pro-Khalistan groups, Satluj network is the new kid on the block.
Founded by Arizona businessman Tony Mangat, the network spews venom against India, with Punjab secession as its notable theme. Recently the network has coined the phrase Indian Occupied Punjab (IOP), on the same lines as India Occupied Kashmir (IOK) or India Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK)–acronyms that originated in Pakistan.
After the massive crackdown against Amritpal Singh, leader of the pro-Khalistan outfit Waris Punjab De since March 18, Satluj TV has started making repeated references to IOP.
In a March 23 video anchor Ginger Jeffries, not only refers to IOP, but also vociferously praises Amrtipal Singh. It lauds Singh as a crusader against drug addiction in Punjab, and makes the over-the-top accusation that his counter-narcotics drive has rattled the government of India. The video conveniently ignores the videographic evidence that shows Amritpal's group recruiting young people under the cover of de-addiction and training them as armed militants of the Anandpur Sahib Fauj (ASF).
Jeffries then makes the outlandish claim that security forces had arrested over 1,000 people in its crackdown, ignoring the fact that the total number of arrests was just over 110. The report also claimed Amritpal Singh has already been arrested, implying that he was being denied his basic civil liberties and human rights.
It is obvious that the founders of the Satluj Network are rabid Khalistani supporters. Mangat Group, owned by Tony Mangat, whose businesses spread from filmmaking, real estate, and trucking.
Co-founder Surinder Singh, has an interesting past. According to his LinkedIn profile, Surinder graduated from Punjabi University, and started his career at ANI in March 2006. Less than a year later, he shifted to Global Punjab. In January 2011, he joined Day and Night News Channel, moving to Global Punjab TV (USA) two years later. Simultaneously, he launched Talking Punjab, before hooking up with Mangat at the Satluj Network in June 2022.
According to an article in OpIndia, Singh's LinkedIn profile says that that he produced a 67 hours audio documentary on the "June 1984 attack on Sikhs". It further acknowledges that he is now working as a freelance news analyst covering the so-called "Punjab independence struggle".
Singh has written and directed a limited TV series "And They Occupied Me," which the Mangat group has produced. The series premiered at the Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals in Lagos, last April. The nine-episode series is based on the 1984 Sikh massacre.