The Union Home Ministry has ordered telecom operators to shutdown internet services in Singhu, Tikri, Ghazipur and “adjoining areas”, for “maintaining public safety and averting public emergency”, amid the ongoing farmers’ protest. Internet will be suspended in these areas from 11 PM of January 29 to 11 pm of January 31. Telecom sources have confirmed to MediaNama, of having received the order from the Home Ministry.
This is the third instance of internet shutdown in the National Capital Territory. Before this, the Home Ministry had ordered to shutdown internet services at Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi, and “adjoining areas” on January 26, as clashes broke out between protesting farmers and law enforcement agencies. At the time, internet speeds in the remaining of Delhi and NCR was throttled to 2G speeds. We have asked telcos whether that is the case under this latest order as well.
“We restate — these continuing internet shutdowns are against democratic norms of peaceful assembly and protest,” the Delhi-based digital rights group Internet Freedom Foundation wrote on Twitter.
On January 29, the Haryana government shutdown internet and SMS services in fourteen districts, claiming that it was doing so to curb misinformation related to the ongoing farmers’ protests. In total, seventeen out of the twenty-two districts in Haryana were under an internet and SMS shutdown at the time of publishing.