Manipur extends ban on mobile/broadband internet till May 26 after reports of arson

The NH-2 has still remained blocked, Congress questions PM Narendra Modi's silence 
Last Updated : 21 May 2023, 15:35 IST

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The BJP government in Manipur on Sunday extended the ban on use of mobile and broadband internet by another five days citing fresh reports of arson and burning of houses.

The ban was first clamped on May 3 when the ethnic violence broke out in Churachandpur district and spilled over to several other districts. At least 73 persons have died and over 35,0000 other displaced. The army and the paramilitary forces controlled the violence but the ban on mobile and broadband internet has been extended thrice so far citing possibility of use of the social media to spread hatred and violence.

In his order on Sunday, H Gyan Prakash, commissioner of Manipur home department said that there was an imminent danger of loss of life and/or damage to private/public property and widespread disturbance to public tranquility and communal harmony.

"There is continuous apprehension that some anti-social elements might use social media extensively for transfer of images, hate speeches and hate video messages. This might have a serious repercussions for the law and order situation in the state," he said.

The step was taken on a day CM N Biren Singh urged all communities not to blame each other for the violence. Singh said the violence took place due to "resistance and grievances" against the state government's steps to clear the forests and control drug menace.

Congress' questions

Even as CM Biren Singh stated that the law and order situation was being monitored by Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Saturday questioned why the Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not make any appeal for peace. Ramesh also asked why Shah or any Cabinet minister did not visit the trouble torn state yet to restore normalcy.

Talking about the ban on mobile internet, Ramesh tweeted, "Banking, e-commerce, payments of e-bills, e-tickets, businesses, work from home, education, and many other essential services have come to a grinding halt."

Residents continue to face problems in communication with their friends and family members while business activities have remained snapped. The NH-2, one of the lifelines that connects Imphal with Dimapur (Nagaland) and rest of the country has also remained blocked by protesters since the violence started. This has severely affected movement of trucks carrying essential commodities including fuel and medicines. The army and Assam Rifles, however, has been providing security cover to trucks to use the NH-37 but the traders have said that the transportation cost through the route is more.
Media affected:

A delegation of Editors' Guild of Manipur and All Manipur Working Journalists' Union recently submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister N. Biren Singh stating that the media was unable to do their work due to the ban on mobile and broadband internet and non-availability of news print. They also threatened to stop work if the ban is not lifted.

Published 21 May 2023, 15:35 IST

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