We missed this earlier.
Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur district shut down mobile internet till 6pm on 5 September, India.com reports. The shutdown was sought by district collector Chhavi Bhardwaj. It is Madhya Pradesh’s fourth internet shutdown, and Jabalpur’s second.
The shutdown was a result of a protest by upper caste groups in response to the recent amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. This amendment allows the police to act more quickly on police reports filed by people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes on atrocities against them. The amendment was announced as a result of the Supreme Court controversially striking down a pre-existing provision in that law which already let police move more quickly on these complaints.
MP triples shutdowns
Since Madhya Pradesh had only one shutdown in 2017, and this is the state’s third shutdown this year, the state seems to have effectively tripled the number of shutdowns on an annual basis. This data comes courtesy of the Software Freedom Law Centre’s internet shutdowns tracker, which is primarily based on news reports.
MediaNama has filed an RTI with the Madhya Pradesh state government seeking greater detail on the number of shutdowns in the state this year, and the specific causes to justify them. While we have not had a response yet, here are the last three shutdowns imposed in Madhya Pradesh covered by the SFLC tracker.
- Mobile internet was shut down in the districts of Gwalior, Bhind, Morena and Jabalpur on 9th April 2018. This was also in reaction to Bharat Bandh protests; but this bandh was called by Dalit groups protesting the Supreme Court’s order striking down provisions of the SC/ST Act.
- Another shutdown was called just a few days prior in Gwalior, Morena and Bhind districts on 2 April for the same reason.
- On 6 June 2017, the Madhya Pradesh government shut internet down in Mandsaur, Ratlam, Ujjain, Neemuch, Indore, and Dewas districts in response to farmers who were protesting the low prices they were getting paid for their produce.