In response to a surge in volatile law and order situations, the Manipur government has taken the unprecedented step of temporarily suspending internet services across the state until November 23, 2023. The decision was announced by the Home Department through an official order (No.H-3607/4/2022-HD-HD(Pt)) released on November 18, 2023.
The move comes after the Director General of Police, Manipur, submitted reports highlighting the precarious security conditions in the region. The reports detailed incidents such as ambushes on security forces, protests against missing persons, highway blockades, and sit-in protests. Authorities fear that anti-social elements may exploit social media platforms to disseminate images, hate speech, and videos that could incite public unrest.
The order cites concerns of potential loss of life, damage to public and private property, and disturbances to public tranquility and communal harmony. There is a specific apprehension regarding the spread of inflammatory material and false rumors through social media channels, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other messaging services.
Under Rule 2 of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017, the Manipur government has exercised its powers to suspend or curb mobile internet/data services, including services through VPN, within the territorial jurisdiction of the state. The suspension is effective immediately and will last until 07:45 P.M. on November 23, 2023.
This preventive measure aims to thwart the activities of anti-national and anti-social elements, ensuring the maintenance of peace, communal harmony, and the prevention of any potential loss of life or damage to public/private property.
Meanwhile, the state government has already activated a substantial number of mobile towers in select district headquarters, unaffected by recent violence. This initiative is in compliance with the High Court of Manipur's order dated November 6, 2023, and subsequent orders in PIL No. 25 of 2023 and related cases.
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today