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48-hour internet shutdown in Odisha’s Kendrapara town after clashes between two communities

Internet services in Odisha’s Kendrapara town and surrounding areas were suspended for 48 hours as a "preventive measure" following a clash between members of two communities, Orissa Post reported. The ban was imposed at 11:30 am on June 5, after hundreds of people staged a dharna near the Kendrapara Town Police Station on Tuesday, demanding the arrest of people of another community who had allegedly injured a middle-aged man and his two sons in Badahat village the previous day. Following this, the government claimed that some people were circulating false messages through social media, and thus decided to shut down internet services. This is the second time that Kendrapara has faced an internet shutdown this year; the previous instance was in January. India's rules on internet shutdowns Internet shutdowns in India are governed by a set of rules published by the DoT in 2017, which replaced the even more arbitrary procedure of enforcement through orders issued by a District Magistrate. The current rules still enable the imposition of an internet shutdown through executive orders, but these may only be issued by a secretary to the central or state government and are subject to review by a central government committee. Do internet shutdowns actually work? It is debatable whether such shutdowns do a lot to help the political situation in a region. Apart from offline mobilisation, groups who wish to demonstrate publicly make use of VPN technologies to circumvent these shutdowns. Rather than enabling violence, communication online is often used to disseminate information and also send…

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