Manipur Bans Mobile Internet Again Amid Protests Over Dead Students’ Photos

Manipur Bans Mobile Internet Again Amid Protests Over Dead Students' Photos
Manipur Bans Mobile Internet Again Amid Protests Over Dead Students' Photos

The government of Manipur has re-imposed a ban on mobile devices accessing the internet following violent protests over the brutal murder of two minors, which broke after photographs of the bodies went viral. Earlier this week, the state’s government lifted a ban on mobile internet due to ethnic violence in the north-eastern part of the state, but the ban will remain until Sunday.

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A day curfew was lifted in the valley on Saturday after 143 days of ethnic violence that saw scores of people killed. But security concerns remained with a night and day curfew in place.

On May 3, Manipur was gripped by sectarian clashes, which resulted in the country’s longest internet outage after Jammu & Kashmir.

During the period between August 4, 2019 – a day before Article 370 of the Constitution was abrogated by Parliament – and February 6, 2021, Kashmir had no Internet service.

Similarly to J&K, where 2G services were made available to verified whitelisted numbers in January 2020, broadband services were restored conditionally to government functionaries on July 24 and mobile data services restored on August 30.

To combat fake news, propaganda, and hate speech, the government suspended mobile internet services on May 3. Manipur CM N Biren Singh announced today, however, that mobile internet services would be restored across the state following the improvement of the situation. The news of the return of students to Manipur was met with enthusiasm among Imphal residents and other residents of Manipur.

According to an earlier order from the state’s home department, MMS services in the state were suspended with incidents of violence declining and law and order improving. It is acknowledged that miscreants impersonating policemen continue to commit extortion, kidnappings, and other crimes in Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Moreh, and Imphal, CM Biren Singh said. Despite sporadic clashes, tensions continue to haunt residents of Imphal East & West. The authorities relaxed the curfew period from 5 am to 9 pm but warned against using it for organising any gathering or sit-in protest without prior approval.

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