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Manipur Government Extends Internet Shutdown In The State For More Five Days

As per news reports, last week the state government had extended the shutdown till October 11, after the previous order lapsed on October 1.

The Manipur government has extended the suspension of mobile internet and data services through VPN in the state until October 16, 2023, according to a report by the Hindustan Times. The State home department has said in its order that the shutdown is reimposed to maintain law and order and prevent dissemination of hate speech and misinformation on social media platforms.

According to the order reviewed by Hindustan Times, the government has issued the order under Rule 2 of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules,2017 stating that “activities of anti-national and anti-social elements” is “likely to cause” serious impact on public order and peace in the State.

Last week, the government had extended the ban until October 11, after the previous order lapsed on October 1, as per The Wire’s report. On September 26, just two days after the internet ban was revoked in the State, the Manipur government issued yet another order shutting down internet services for five days until 7.45 pm of October 1, 2023. The government has stated that it intends to curb spread of disinformation, false rumours, and other “violent activities” through social media and electronic devices like computer, tablets etc.

Article continues below ⬇, Read more about the developments regarding internet shutdown in Manipur, here:

Why it matters: It’s been over 160 days that Manipur residents have been subjected to a prolonged internet shutdown amid continued unrest in the region. While the telecom suspension rules lay out procedural requirements for such harsh measures by the government, it is unclear if such processes are followed by the Manipur government. For example, Rule 2(2) of the Telecom Suspension Rules requires the home department to forward the order to a Review Committee latest by the next working day. The Review committee is then required to review the order within five working days. The Supreme Court of India, in Anuradha Bhasin vs. Union of India had ruled that an indefinite suspension of internet is non-permissible and that the orders must be reviewed to check whether they satisfy the tests of necessity and proportionality. However, it is not known if suspension orders are being reviewed in Manipur since May, whereas, what can be seen is that the government is resorting to an indefinite shutdown by re-circulating the same order with updated dates.

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Written By

Curious about the intersection of technology with education, caste and welfare rights. For story tips, please feel free to reach out at sarasvati@medianama.com

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