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Mobile internet services blocked in Lakhimpur Kheri, UP but official order still not public

The restriction of internet services in the district comes in the wake of violence that broke out during a farmers’ protest.

In what is yet another instance of Indian authorities restricting fundamental rights, the Uttar Pradesh government has ordered a shutdown of internet services in the Lakhimpur Kheri district. While the office of the Additional Chief Secretary in the Home Department confirmed the order to MediaNama, they did not provide details such as the extent of the services restricted, time period, and so on as the "order was passed at night". Last year, while hearing pleas that challenged curbs imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, the Supreme Court had declared that access to the internet is a fundamental right. It had further asked magistrates signing off on internet shutdown orders to ‘apply their mind’ and ‘follow the doctrine of proportionality’. India has had the highest number of internet shutdowns in the world, with 109 out of 155 net shutdowns worldwide in 2020, according to a report by Access Now. Telecom operators notified customers last evening MediaNama has learned that messages from telecom operators notifying customers of the internet shutdown were sent to those in the district on October 3, evening. This proves that mobile internet services have been restricted in the region. However, it is not clear whether broadband services have also been restricted in the district, and if the internet services have been restricted for the entire district or only parts of it, as indicated by various media reports. At the time of filing this report, MediaNama could not find an order by the state government about…

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I cover health technology for MediaNama but, really, love all things tech policy. Always willing to chat with a reader! Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

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