The Manipur government on Sunday extended the suspension of internet services for another five days following reports of arson incidents and to prevent spreading of rumours and videos, photos, and messages, which might affect tghe law and order situation in the ethnic-violence hit northeastern state.
Manipur’s Commissioner, Home, H. Gyan Prakash, in a notification extending the suspension of internet services till May 26, said that the Director General of Police, Manipur, reported that there are still reports of incidents like arson of houses and premises.
“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.
“There is an imminent danger of loss of life and/or damage to public and private property, and wide spread disturbances to public tranquility 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 government said that 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 platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. on various electronic equipment like tablet, computer, mobile phone etc.
Sending bulk SMS, for facilitating and or mobilisation of mobs of agitators and demonstrators, can cause loss of life and or damage to public and private property by indulging in arson and vandalism and other types of violent activities, it said.
The government now ordered further suspension, curbing of mobile data services, internet, data services including broadband — Reliance Jio Fiber, Airtel Xtreme Black, BSNL FTTH etc. and internet, data services through VSATS of Bharatnet Phase-II in the territorial jurisdiction of the state of Manipur.
Any person found guilty of violation of the government orders will be liable to legal action, the notification said.
The Manipur government suspended mobile internet on May 3 after the state witnessed unprecedented violent clashes in 10 of the 16 districts during and after the ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ called by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur (ATSUM) to oppose the demand for inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe category.
Amid the shortage of essential items, transport fuel and life-saving drugs, banking and ATM facilities have also been affected due to the internet suspension across the mountainous state, making life more miserable for the people.
The opposition Congress, the media and various other organisations have been demanding immediate restoration of internet service in Manipur. (IANS)