Over the last month, police and government authorities in at least 9 different states have deployed internet shutdowns as a tool to contain protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was passed in the Parliament on December 11. Internet services were first suspended in Tripura, Assam, and Meghalaya followed by West Bengal, parts of Uttar Pradesh as protests spread in intensity and area. Internet was shutdown in the national capital for the first time. In many instances, including in Delhi, the internet suspension was ordered illegally by a police official, violating the rules which allow internet shutdowns — Temporary Suspension of Internet Services Rules, 2011 — that allow only officials of the Home Ministry to issue such orders. India leads the world in internet shutdowns, with 106 internet shutdowns in 2019. Jammu and Kashmir has had no internet services for 150 days — since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 4. However, SMS on all postpaid phones and broadband services in 80 government hospitals were restored in the Jammu & Kashmir on January 1 midnight. 2020 has already seen its first internet shutdown: internet services were suspended in Bhima Koregaon — situated near Pune, Maharashtra — on January 1, 2020, as a precautionary measure as people gathered to commemorate the 202nd anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle. Uttar Pradesh Widespread internet shutdown in over 20 districts Internet services were again suspended on December 26 in several of UP’s 75 districts amidst protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Protests…
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