Following communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims, mobile Internet services we restored on Tuesday in Bijnor district in Uttar Pradesh, reports Times of India. Violence erupted in the district last week on the 16th and three people were killed after a girl was allegedly harassed which triggered a fight with between the communities.
To maintain law and order and curb the spread of rumours through social media, authorities cut mobile Internet services. 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.
Last month, mobile Internet services were cut off in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh since Tuesday after authorities feared a law and order situation in the state’s capital following the suicide of former chief minister Kalikho Pul.
This is the 16th incident where mobile Internet services were cut since September 2015. The number of Internet blocks has increased dramatically the Supreme Court’s ruling which upheld the districts and states’ right to ban mobile Internet services for maintaining law and order in February.
Kashmir Internet services
Mobile Internet services continue to be cut off in the Kashmir valley extending to three months now. Services were cut in over 10 districts on July 9 after security forces killed militant Burhan Wani which sparked widespread protests and violence. However there were brief moments where some services were restored. In August, the Jammu & Kashmir state administration blocked GPRS-operated WhatsApp ‘as a precautionary measure’ to keep rumours in check last Friday (5 August). It restored the service on the same evening in Jammu. However, users in the state reported that Internet services were blocked for other websites and services as well.
UN resolution on Internet: The United Nations passed a resolution which condemned measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to information online and advocated a “human rights” based approach to Internet access. India had supported an amendment by Russia and China, which sought to remove the human rights, based approach.
List of Internet blocks since September 2015
– August 12,2016: Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh/ one day (link)
–July 11, 2016: Jammu and Kashmir districts of Ananatnag, Shopian, Pulgam and Sopore/ 3 months and ongoing/ (link).
– July 1st, 2016: Barmer and Jaisalmer (Rajasthan)/48 hours/ (link)
– June 17th, 2016: Jammu(Jammu and Kashmir)/unknown length of time/ Mobile Internet and bulk SMS (link)
– June 4th 2016: Sonipat (Haryana)/unknown length of time/Mobile Internet and bulk SMS (link)
– May 17th 2016: Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh)/unknown length of time/Wireline and Mobile Internet (link)
– April 18th 2016: Gujarat/3 days (link)
– April 16th 2016: Jharkhand/unknown length of time (link)
– April 14th 2016: Kashmir/1 day (link)
– February 28th 2016: Gujarat/4 hours (link)
– February 19th 2016: Haryana/more than 1 day/Mobile Internet and SMS (link)
– December 20, 2015: Rajasthan/unknown (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 (link)