The Manipur government prolonged the mobile internet suspension for an additional five days, now in effect until November 5. This measure is aimed at preventing the dissemination of harmful content, including messages, photos, and videos, by individuals involved in antisocial activities especially after they faced fresh violence on October 31.
This marks the second extension of the mobile internet ban in less than a week. Chief Minister N. Biren Singh had recently hinted at the possibility of the government lifting the ban in the coming days.
According to a notification from the Home Department issued on Tuesday, the extension of the ban is in response to concerns that certain antisocial elements may exploit social media platforms to distribute images, hate speech, and sensitive videos, which could inflame public sentiments and potentially disrupt law and order in the state.
Home Commissioner T Ranjit Singh reportedly issued a notification regarding the matter which said, "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."
According to an India Today report, the notification additionally emphasized the imminent threat of loss of life, harm to public and private assets, and the potential for widespread disruptions to public peace and communal harmony. This peril stems from the dissemination of inflammatory content and unfounded rumors, which could be disseminated to the public via social media, messaging services on mobile platforms, SMS services, and dongle services.
"To thwart the design and activities of anti-national and anti-social elements and to maintain peace and communal harmony and to prevent any loss of life or danger to public/private property, 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 platform such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. on various electronic equipments like tablet, computer, mobile phone etc. and sending bulk SMS, for facilitating and/or mobilization of mobs of agitators and demonstrators, which can cause loss of life and/or damage to public/private property by indulging in arson/vandalism and other types of violent activities," it further added
Therefore, in accordance with the authority vested in accordance with Rule 2 of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017, and to maintain peaceful coexistence and public order the suspension has been directed.
The notification concluded by saying, "order suspension/curbing of mobile internet/data services, internet/data services through VPN in the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Manipur for another 5 days with immediate effect from the time this suspension order becomes operational till 7.45 pm of November 5, 2023."
What happened in Manipur on October 31?
At least three Manipur Police personnel sustained bullet wounds after armed militants ambushed their convoy near Sinam along Imphal-Moreh NH-102 in Tengnoupal district on Tuesday, police said.
The three were part of additional forces sent as reinforcement to Moreh town for operations following the killing of Moreh SDPO Chingtham Anand by militants at the border town earlier in the day.
The injured were later safely evacuated to Imphal for treatment. Condition of the one of them is serious, officials said.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh also reacted to the incident on X, he wrote "Deeply saddened by the cold-blooded killing of SDPO Chingtham Anand, OC Moreh Police this morning. His dedication to serve and protect the people will always be remembered. The perpetrators will be brought to justice."