Facebook and Instagram have finally unblocked the hashtag #Sikh after almost three months of restricting it, according to a series of tweets from Instagram’s public relations team.
According to the statement released by Instagram, the block was made “mistakenly,”. Instagram states the restriction was put into place on March 7 due to a report that was “inaccurately reviewed by our teams.”
The block was lifted late last week after intense public pressure.
— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) June 3, 2020
“Our processes fell down here, and we’re sorry,” the Twitter thread reads.
Sikhs are a religious group that originated in North India. They make up around 30 million people worldwide, including an approximated 500,000 followers in the United States.
The withdrawal of the block comes during the 36th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, an Indian military raid of a Sikh temple from June 1 to 8, 1984, that led to the death of nearly 500 civilians. Anti-Sikh brutality in India continued throughout that year and after, including the 1984 Sikh Massacre, in which thousands of Sikhs were murdered. The hashtag #NeverForget1984 is being used on all social platforms this month in memory of the atrocities caused by the Indian army.
the hypocrisy of @facebook's approach to free speech:
zuckerberg says fb’s principles prohibit him from blocking trump as he incites violence & hate.
— rupi kaur (@rupikaur_) June 3, 2020
We ask you @instagram what the reason for this blocking is, to suppress the truth?
— Sikh 2 Inspire (@Sikh2Inspire) June 3, 2020
“This is an incredibly important, painful time for the Sikh community,” Instagram admitted in a series of tweets. “It’s never our intention to silence the voices of this community, we are taking the necessary steps so this doesn’t happen again.”