Mobile internet has been shut down in Navi Mumbai on Thursday, PTI reports. The shutdown was reportedly enacted after violence in cities like Khopar Khairane, the report said. This shutdown is still in place on Thursday even though the Maratha quota agitation — which is at the centre of this violence — was called off on Wednesday. Customer service for Reliance Jio — which is headquartered in Navi Mumbai — confirmed the shutdown, and added that SMS services were being shut down too:
As per the government instructions, data and SMS services has been temporarily stopped in Navi Mumbai because of which you are not able to use the service. You will be able to use Internet service at the earliest – Delna
— JioCare (@JioCare) July 26, 2018
Jio also seems to have shut down its WiFi hotspots, with users seeing a message instead of the capture portal that Internet has been blocked due to government orders.
Airtel’s customer service also confirmed the move:
Hi! As per instructions from govt. of Maharashtra, internet and SMS services will remain suspended. We’re sorry about the inconvenience. Thanks for your support – Sahil
— Bharti Airtel India (@Airtel_Presence) July 26, 2018
MediaNama tried to reach out to the Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner’s office, but couldn’t reach them.
Shutdowns in Maharashtra
Maharashtra has had only five reported internet shutdowns before this one, per the Software Freedom Law Centre’s Internet shutdowns tracker. Of those, three happened in this year alone. The shutdowns have taken place in Aurangabad, Nashik and Kolhapur. Thursday’s shutdown is probably the most significant, since the Navi Mumbai township has a large economy with several multinationals headquartered there — not to mention the headquarters of Reliance Jio. It is highly uncommon for shutdowns to take place in cities as major as Navi Mumbai. State capitals — or their satellite townships — outside of Rajasthan and Kashmir usually are not affected by internet shutdowns.
Half of all Internet shutdowns in Maharashtra, ever, have happened this year. Following an RTI response received by SFLC, it emerged this week that the number of internet shutdowns in 2018 alone have already exceeded the number of shutdowns in 2017.