Amid fresh tensions in Manipur over the killing of two Meitei students who went missing in July, the state government has extended the internet ban in the state for an additional five days with immediate effect. The ban will now be in effect until October 6. The CBI on Sunday arrested four people in connection with its probe into the cases of two missing Manipuri students who are believed to have been killed.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh's announcement of arrest of the four accused triggered protests by Kuki-Zomi organisations, which referred to the arrests as “abduction”. The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum called for an indefinite shutdown starting from 10 am on Monday. Kuki-Zomi organisations also threatened a “more intense agitation” in “all hill districts of Manipur” if the accused are not released.
The CBI arrested two men, Paominlun Haokip and Smalsawm Haokip, and two women, Lhingneichong Baitekuki and Tinneilhing Henthang, in connection with its cases registered on August 23. The central probe agency has brought the four accused to Guwahati.
PHOTO | The internet ban in Manipur has been extended for an additional five days with immediate effect; now in effect until October 6. pic.twitter.com/YgECdgIGNJ— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) October 1, 2023
The ban on internet was initially imposed on September 26, following widespread student protests related to the killing. A notification issued by the state government on Sunday 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."
“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...” it stated.
The ban will be in effect till October 6, 7:45 pm, the notification stated.
Only a week ago, on September 23, Manipur Chief minister N Biren Singh announced that the internet ban will be lifted in the state. The state government had imposed a ban on internet services in some districts of the strife-torn state after the ethnic clashes first erupted on May 3. The government later lifted the ban partially, allowing broadband services to function with certain conditions.