The Manipur government on November 13 once again extended the ban on mobile internet service for another five days – till 7.45 pm of November 18.
An order of the Home department regarding the extension of the suspension of the mobile internet/data service stated that “there is apprehension that some anti-social elements might use social media extensively for transmission of images, hate speech and hate video messages inciting the passions of the public which might have serious repercussions for the law and order situation in the state of Manipur.”
The order further said: “It has become necessary to take adequate measures to maintain law and order in public interest, by stopping the spread of disinformation and false rumours, through various social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. on various electronic equipment…”
Six student bodies demand internet service
Meanwhile 6 students’ organisations in Manipur demanded immediate lifting of the ban on mobile internet service.
A joint statement of the six students’ bodies – AMSU, MSF, DESAM, KSA, SUK and AIMS – demanded that the state government should lift the ban on mobile internet service considering the problems faced by the students in their study related matters.
The state government imposed a ban on all internet services in view of the chain of violence erupted in the state since May 3 last. However, the ban on broadband services was restored.
Besides, the Manipur government had also lifted the ban on mobile internet service in some violent unaffected hill districts on a trial basis.
The joint statement of the six student bodies said that it is a well-known fact that there is no use of banning the mobile internet ban in the prevailing situation. The ban has also not been able to check the chain of violence happening in the state, they further said.
The prolonged internet ban not only affected the students but also in business and various other activities of the general public as well as the government.
“At the same time, rich people are using the internet by subscribing to broadband internet connection in their respective homes. Besides, those people whitelisted by the government are also enjoying the mobile internet services,” they also pointed out.
“Such a policy of the government has created divisions among the citizens and rights of certain sections of citizens have been suppressed for a long time,” they added.
The prolonged ban on the internet will also hinder the development paces in Manipur, the statement also said.