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Internet shut down in several cities of UP, Karnataka

CAA Protests
Protests against CAA at Delhi's Jantar Mantar. Credit: Nikhil Pahwa

Mobile internet services have been snapped in at least 21 cities in the state of Uttar Pradesh, including in its capital, Lucknow, according to multiple news reports. Mobile internet services have also been suspended in the Mangaluru and Dakshin Kannada districts of Karnataka for 48 hours

In UP, the other cities where internet services have been snapped are Bareilly, Aligarh, Ghaziabad, Prayagraj (Allahabad), Sambhal, Meerut, Mau, Kanpur, Hapur, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Muzzafarnagar, Shamli, Unnao, Agra, Sultanpur, Bagpat, Bulandshahr, Azamgarh and Pilibhit. The internet blackout came after protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act allegedly took a violent turn in Lucknow. We have reached out to Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Jio for confirmation.

In Lucknow, the internet shutdown was imposed at 3 pm on December 19, and is expected to be in place till 12 pm on December 21, according to a copy of the internet shutdown order, posted by several people on Twitter.

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The order, which has been issued by the Additional Chief Secretary of UP’s BJP government, Awanish Kumar Awasthi, said that “messaging systems like SMS and WhatsApp and social media system[s] like Facebook and YouTube may be used extensively for the transmission of information like pictures, videos and text that have the potential to inflame passions and thus exacerbate the law and order situation” in the city. SMS services have also been snapped in the city, per the order. In Ghaziabad, the shutdown was imposed at 10 pm yesterday.

In Mangaluru and Dakshin Kannada districts of Karnataka, a 48-hour shutdown was imposed, effective from 10 pm on December 19, according to multiple news reports. Protests against the CAA had allegedly taken a violent turn in Mangaluru and two people were killed in police firings, according to news agency PTI.

Mobile internet services were snapped in Delhi

This follows the mobile internet, voice and SMS service shutdown in the several parts of Delhi on December 19. Suspension of these services had been ordered in the following areas of New Delhi: Walled city areas of north and central areas of the districts, Mandi House, Seelampur, Jaffarbad, Mustafabad, Jamia Nagar, Shaeen Bagh and Bawana. Airtel and Vodafone Idea had both confirmed this yesterday.

Meanwhile, the internet shutdown in Assam, which had been in place since December 12, was lifted today, after the Gauhati Hight Court directed the Assam government to restore mobile internet services in the state.

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No internet in Jammu and Kashmir, 130 days and counting

Internet services in Jammu and Kashmir have been down for more than a 135 days now. Services were snapped on August 4, a day before Home Minister Amit Shah moved a resolution in the Rajya Sabha to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution that provided special status to Jammu & Kashmir.

Internet Freedom Foundation’s (IFF) Apar Gupta explains the legality of internet shutdowns: 

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