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Internet shutdown in Assam extended for 2 days; SMS and mobile internet suspended in Meghalaya amidst protests against Citizenship Amendment Bill

Update on December 12: The prevailing internet shutdown in parts of Assam has been extended by another 2 days, as the situation in the state worsened, and protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill turned violent, killing one person and injuring others, per The Indian Express. Mobile internet services and SMS have been suspended in the entire state of Meghalaya for 2 days starting 5 pm today (December 12). The suspension order, made by Meghalaya’s home department, said that WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube, along with SMS, were likely to be used to spread messages, videos, photos that could cause trouble.


Earlier on December 11:

Amidst widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, the Assam government will suspend mobile internet services for 24 hours in 8 Upper Assam districts, along with and Kamrup district and Kamrup Metro, where the state capital of Dispur (Guwahati) is situated. Mobile internet services will be snapped starting 7 pm today until 7 pm tomorrow (December 12).

The 8 districts in Upper Assam are Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, and Golaghat. It seems that broadband services will not be affected.

The suspension has been ordered by Kumar Sanjay Krishna, additional chief secretary to Assam government in Home Department, to prevent the misuse of and spread of rumors on social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and YouTube. Rumours are likely to spread on these platforms, and they may have the potential to inflame passions and worsen the law and order situation in the state, the bureaucrat said in the order.

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The order, made under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services Rules under the Telegraph Act 1885, has been copied to all four telcos – Vodafone-Idea, Airtel, Reliance Jio, and BSNL.

Internet services have also been suspended for 2 days in Tripura, starting yesterday, over the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Demonstrations against the bill have been carried out in parts of Assam including in Guwahati, two Indian Army units have been deployed in Tripura, and one is on standby in Assam. Protestors have torched public property in Guwahati, and examinations have been cancelled in Gauhati University and Dibrugarh University.

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This article has been updated on December 12 with fresh developments.

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