India’s Ministry of Information and Technology (MeitY) has written a scathing letter, and a note, to Wikipedia explaining to them how an anonymous user from Pakistan had used a particular IP (Internet Protocol) address to alter Wikipedia’s feature and Wikipedia’s page on Arshdeep Singh.
The New Indian has accessed the letter from MeitY to Wikipedia saying that several other anonymous users from Pakistan had changed the page minutes after India had lost the Asia Cup Super Four match against Pakistan. The screenshots of those Wikipedia messages and the IP addresses have been attached to this letter.
“Around 7.13 pm on September 4 the IP address from Pakistan was used with the fake name to change the version of Wikipedia page dedicated to Arshdeep,” the letter stated.
The letter with the subject – Content on the Wikipedia page on Mr Arshdeep Singh (Cricketer) – was written on September 5 (Monday at 7 pm).
It was sent to [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]. The ministry has directed Wikipedia to furnish information regarding the action taken to ensure compliance with the IT Act and the rules therein within 24 hours.
In the letter to Wikipedia, MeitY wrote: “Dear Sir, The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Govt. of India, in the exercise of the powers conferred by the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act), and the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules 2021) hereby draws your immediate attention to the following occurrences on the Wikipedia website basis the recent media reports as depicted below:
A tweet dated 5th September 2022 posted at 8.43 am IST shows how an anonymous Pakistan-based user edited the Wikipedia page of Arshdeep Singh (cricketer), a member of the international Indian cricket team.
The tweet is available here- https://twitter.com/vijaygajera/status/1566625612512366592
https://twitter.com/vijaygajera/status/1566625612512366592 ] (see Screenshot 1)
The Wikipedia page is available here- [https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arshdeep_Singh_%28cricketer%29| https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arshdeep_Singh (cricketer) ].”
The letter further read, “The edits have been done to change the word India to ‘Khalistan Punjab’. The edits are a derogatory reference to the separatist movement of ‘Khalistan’ and have been done with the intent to depict Arshdeep Singh as a traitor. These edits were most likely prompted by certain events that transpired during the India-Pakistan cricket match that took place on 4th September 2022
The letter also stated that as per the edit history of Arshdeep Singh’s Wikipedia page, the edits were made by an anonymous user with the IP address 188.8.131.52 at 18:58 hrs on 4th September (see Screenshot 2). Based on Wikipedia’s own geolocate feature, it seems that this anonymous user is based in Pakistan (See Screenshot 3).
The same anonymous user made another change to the page’s name at 18:59 hrs on 4th September (See Screenshot 4).
Around 19:13 hrs on September 4, 2022, another user with the IP address 2405:201:39:880C:A4AA: 19DA:5B1A:E235 pointed out that the edit made in Screenshot 2 was a fake name, and corrected it (see Screenshot 5).
Between 19:20 hrs and 19:22 hrs, another user with the IP address 2601:646:8200:801:E1D1:7C09:97F3:4867 flagged the changes made by the Pakistani user as ‘vandalism’ and made corresponding corrections (see Screenshot 6).
At 20:28 hrs, C Fred, an active user on Wikipedia since 2006 and an administrator since 2007, changed the status of Arshdeep Singh’s Wikipedia page to ‘Protected’ with this comment- ‘ Persistent vandalism: Shoulda just protected, now that I think about it ‘ (see Screenshot 7).
The protected status of this Wikipedia page will expire at 20:28 hrs on September 11, 2022.
Similarly, the Wikipedia page of Arshdeep Singh (footballer, born 1997) has also been vandalized on similar lines. The Wikipedia page is available here- [https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arshdeep_Singh_%28footballer,_born_1997%29 https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arshdeep_Singh_(footballer,_born_1997) ] .
At 08.58 hrs on 5th September 2022, his birthplace was edited from ‘Chandigarh, India’ to ‘Chandigarh, Khalistan’ (see Screenshot 8). This edit continues to stay valid and is publicly visible on this Wikipedia page at the time of sending this email (see Screenshot 9).
“In view of the above incidents, Wikipedia is directed to furnish information immediately regarding the action taken to ensure compliance with the IT Act and the rules therein within 24 hours, especially under rules 3(1 )(b) and 3(1)(d) of the IT Rules 2021,” the letter added in the end.