Manipur: Internet Ban Extended to October 6 Amidst Concerns Over Public Safety
The Manipur government has prolonged the suspension of mobile internet services in the state for an additional five days.
IMPHAL: The Manipur government has extended the suspension of mobile internet services in the state until October 6, as concerns persist over maintaining public safety and averting the spread of disinformation through social media platforms.
The internet ban was initially reintroduced on September 26 for a five-day period, merely three days after being lifted, following widespread protests by students regarding the killings of two individuals from the Meitei community.
In an official notification issued on Sunday, the state government referenced reports of confrontations between the public and security forces, leading to the decision.
The notification stated, "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 notice emphasized the necessity of adopting measures to preserve public order by curbing the dissemination of disinformation and false rumors through various social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others via electronic devices like tablets, computers, and mobile phones. It also mentioned the sending of bulk SMS for the purpose of mobilizing agitators and demonstrators, which could lead to loss of life and property damage, including arson and vandalism.
This extension follows the arrest of four individuals linked to the "abduction and killing" of two students in Manipur. Notably, disturbing images of the missing students, Phijam Hemjit (20) and Hijam Linthoingambi (17), emerged on social media shortly after mobile internet services were restored in the state. The state government later confirmed the tragic murders of these two students who had disappeared near Bishnupur in July.
Earlier, Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey has visited the families of two youths who were tragically killed after being allegedly kidnapped, an incident that triggered violent protests in the northeastern state. The governor met with the bereaved family members of the two students at their residences in Imphal West district on Friday, according to a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan.