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Mobile Internet services cut off in Jammu; eighth incident this year

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Mobile Internet services were cut off in Jammu and neighbouring districts following violent protests in the region, according to a Press Trust of India report. This is the eighth incident where mobile Internet services were cut off in the country.

However, wired broadband services will continue, as indicated by this report from DailyExcelsior. The report added that the decision to suspend Internet services was taken after a meeting of police officials. However, it did not specify how long the Internet services would be suspended.

Typically bans such as this are enforced under Section 144 of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) which allows local law administration to ban unlawful assembly and justify short bans on Internet services. Section 144 of the CrPC can usually be invoked by a district magistrate or the collector.

The incident was triggered after a when a Muslim youth pelted stones at a temple in Roop Nagar. The situation turned violent after a protesters turned on the police.

Note that mobile Internet services were suspended in five districts in Kashmir in April  due to protests over the death of 4 people in clashes with the security forces. In September 2015, Jammu and Kashmir had suspended Internet services for two days following apprehensions of violence in the state in light of the beef ban in the state. The government had issued a notification asking all internet service providers to close 3G, 2G, GPRS, lease line and broadband services on September 25 and 26 to keep things under control.

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SC upholds states’ right to ban mobile internet

Note that in February, the Supreme Court of India upheld the districts and states’ right to ban mobile Internet services to maintain law and order. This was challenged in court by student-activist Gaurav Sureshbhai Vyas and represented by lawyer Apar Gupta. A bench dismissed the appeal saying “it becomes very necessary sometimes for law and order.” Gupta argued that a blanket ban on Internet services was not justified.

Previous internet shutdowns in India

June 4th 2016: Sonipat (Haryana)/unknown length of time/Mobile Internet and bulk SMS (link)
– May 17th 2016: Azamgarh (UP)/unknown length of time/Wireline and Mobile Internet (link)
-April 18th 2016: Gujarat/3 days/Mobile Internet (link)
-April 16th 2016: Jharkhand/unknown length of time/Mobile Internet (link)
-April 14th 2016: Kashmir/1 day/Mobile Internet (link)
-February 28th 2016: Gujarat/4 hours/Mobile Internet (link)
February 19th 2016: Haryana/more than 1 day/Mobile Internet and SMS (link)
-December 20, 2015: Rajasthan/unknown/Mobile Internet (link)
-September 25th 2015: Jammu & Kashmir/2 days/Wireline and Mobile Internet (link)
-September 4th 2015: Manipur/2 days/Wireline and Mobile Internet (link)
-September 2nd 2015: Gujarat/ 1 week/Mobile Internet  (link)

Note: in case we’ve missed something, please feel free to let us know.

Our coverage on Internet blocks

Image Credit: ben dalton under CC BY SA 2.0

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