Mobile internet services will remain suspended in Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh from Thursday evening until the next 72 hours, according to Haryana Home Secretary Ram Niwas's statement. IndianExpress reports that the state decided to cut off mobile Internet to curb potential spread of violence ahead of spiritual leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s rape case verdict on Friday. Around 5,000 police personnel have been deployed in the city while Section 144, have been imposed in parts of Punjab, the report said. Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) deals with unlawful assembly, with provisions to ban Internet services as well as public assemblies of over five people. Note that in a similar move early last year, the Haryana government had blocked mobile internet and SMSes in certain districts after the Jat community’s protest asking for reservations turned violent. Bans in other states Internet bans have been used many times in the past by state authorities to deal with violent situations arising from riots, protests, etc. But slowly the tactics have changed and seems like the authorities are using Intenet blockades to stop citizens from dissenting on social media. The number of Internet blocks has distinctively gone up after the Supreme Court’s ruling in February 2016 which upheld districts and states’ right to ban mobile Internet services for maintaining law and order. In the month of May and June, there was three Internet shutdown reported: Shutdown in Darjeeling: Due to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) protests in Darjeeling, both broadband and mobile Internet services…
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