Govt suspends mobile internet service for 5 days
IMPHAL | Jul 20 : The Home department this morning has suspended all mobile internet services including social media like facebook, whatsapp for five days to curb rumour mongers, in the wake of the growing protest demanding the removal of Manipur University vice-chancellor, Adya Prasad Pandey.
“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 etc. on mobile phone, for facilitating or mobilisation of mobs of agitators and demonstrators, which can cause loss of life or damage to public and private properties by indulging in arson and vandalism and other types of violent activities,” said Kh. Raghumani Singh, special secretary (Home) in an order.
The internet service was suspended barely 24 hours after a widespread confrontation took place between police and protestors late Thursday night in support of the 48 hours general strike of Manipur University Student’s Union (MUSU).
Intensifying its oust VC campaign, MUSU imposed a 48 hours state wide general strike from midnight of July 17 which lasted till July 19 midnight. MUSU’s call provoked a widespread torch rally of women folk on the last day of the strike, Thursday night, at various part of Imphal which ended in a confrontation with the police injuring a handful of protestors.
Clay Khongsai, Inspector General of Police, has also appealed to the general public to refrain from using violence means while organizing protests and not to trespass restricted zones.
He contended that Thursday night torch rally turned ugly with some vested individuals used provocative tactics against the police during the protest rally.
The police department has taken up investigation in many cases against rumours, hate messages circulated in the social media, he added.
Education institutions in the state also remained closed on Friday after a group namely Reformist Students Front (RSF) has called for a boycott of all educational institutes in the state indefinitely, in social media. The RSF has also warned institutes who defy their boycott with dire consequences.
“The social media has become a handy tool for rumours mongers and is being used to incite general public which might have serious repercussions for the law and order situation in the entire state of Manipur,” Kh. Raghumani added.
The suspension of internet service has given an adverse impact, particularly for the taxpayers with July 20 being the last date of filing their GST returns for the month of June.
This is the third time Manipur has witnessed suspension of internet data services. The district magistrate East and West Imphal issued an order to disconnect mobile Internet services on December 18, 2016, due to law and order turmoil over economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC).
Mobile Internet services were restored on 30th December 2016 after a 12 days disruption.
Complete Internet shut down (mobile and broadband, except for certain BSNL lines) was also witnessed on September 2, 2015, after violence in Churachandpur district.
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