For the third time since lifting the ban on internet services in Manipur for about three days on September 23, the state government on Wednesday extended the ban on internet services for another five days, i.e., till 7.45 pm of October 16, 2023.
On September 23, 2023, the state government lifted the ban on internet services in the state after over 100 days. However, the ban was imposed again just three days later, on the evening of September 26, 2023, after violence reportedly broke following a viral photo of two youths that were allegedly kidnapped and murdered after they were said to be gone missing on July 6, 2023.
With regards to the ban from Wednesday, the Director General of Police, Manipur, vide letter No.IC/11(163)/2008-PHQ(Pt)/ dated 10-10-2023 reported that there are still reports of incidents of violence like confrontation of the public with security forces, trying to mob elected member's residences, civil protests in front of police stations etc., T. Ranjit Singh, Commissioner (Home), GoM, said in the order.
The ban order also stated that there is apprehension that some anti-social elements might use social media extensively for transmission of images, hate speech and hate video messages inciting the passions of the public which might have serious repercussions for the law-and-order situation in the State of Manipur.
There is an imminent danger of loss of life and /or damage to public/private property, and widespread disturbances to public tranquillity and communal harmony, as a result of inflammatory material and false rumours, which might be transmitted/circulated to the public through social media/ messaging services on mobile services, SMS services and dongle services, the order stated.
Therefore, to thwart the design and activities of anti-national and anti-social elements and to maintain peace and communal harmony and to prevent any loss of life or danger to public/private property, it has become necessary to take adequate measures to maintain law and order in public interest, by stopping the spread of disinformation and false rumours, through various social media platform such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. on various electronic equipments like tablet, computer, mobile phone etc. and sending bulk SMS, for facilitating and/or mobilization of mobs of agitators and demonstrators, which can cause loss of life and/or damage to public/private property by indulging in arson/vandalism and other types of violent activities.
Stating thus, the government ordered the suspension/curbing of mobile internet/data services, internet/data services through VPN in the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Manipur for another 5(five) days with immediate effect from the time this suspension order becomes operational till 07:45 P.M. of 16-10-2023.
Any person found guilty for violation of aforesaid orders will be liable for legal action, the order stated.