Apparently, the situation to restore mobile internet in the state doesn’t seem favourable nor conducive as the government went ahead and banned mobile internet for another five days on Thursday.
As per the latest order by T Ranjit Singh, Commissioner (Home), GoM, the ban on mobile internet has been extended till 7.45 pm of October 31.
The continuation with the ban comes despite CM Biren stating that mobile internet in the state will be restored soon if there were no major unfavourable incidents and if the situation is conducive. On Wednesday, he had also stated that the government would discuss the prevailing situation and see if the time was ripe to lift the ban on the mobile internet.
A week earlier in Ukhrul district, while inaugurating and laying foundation stones for various projects, the CM had also stated that mobile internet would be restored within the next four-five days.
On September 23, the government lifted the ban on mobile internet after it was banned on May 4. However, it was banned again on September 26, just after three days; it’s been a month now since the second phase of the ban on mobile internet.
As per the order of the Commissioner (Home), GoM, the Director General of Police, Manipur vide letter No.1C/11(163)/2008-PHQ(Pt)/ dated October 25 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.
It further 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.
Stating that there is an imminent danger of loss of life and /or damage to public/private property, and wide spread disturbances to public tranquillity and communal harmony, as a result of inflammatory material and false rumours, the order maintained that 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.
Stating thus, the commissioner 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 five days with immediate effect from the time this suspension order becomes operational till 7.45 pm of October 31.
The latest ban order also comes against the calls by various CSOs and student bodies including the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) that has been picketing government offices in the hill district in demand for restoration of mobile internet.
ANSAM, while stating that it will continue to picket government offices till their demand is met, had said that the internet is not merely a communication system but it is a chosen platform for research and information among others.
Lifting the order only for few broadband users and government offices for administrative purposes with exorbitant rate does not provide a solution to the necessities in times of urgency and cannot be a justification to its proportionality of the ongoing violence and prevailing situation, ANSAM had said.