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Rights

Reimposed Internet Shutdown in Manipur Extended Till October 6

The internet had been back in place for barely three days after the 143-day-long shutdown that began on May 3 before it was shut down again on September 26.

New Delhi: The internet shutdown in Manipur, which was reimposed on September 26, has been extended till October 6. The earlier order lapsed on October 1.

The internet had been back in place for barely three days after the 143-day-long shutdown that began on May 3 before it was shut down again.

“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 state government October 1 order said.

“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 continued.

The extension came hours after the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested four people in connection with the killing of two young Meitei students. Two minors were also detained, according to India Today.

Protests against these killings had intensified the violence and been used as the reason for the reimposed shutdown.

While the government has claimed that the internet was used to spread rumours, reports from the ground and expert opinion suggest otherwise. The suspension has hindered the flow of information that could have revealed the true scale of violence, critics of shutdowns say. Emergency services have also been affected by the blanket ban.

One ground report said that in the absence of internet, “news and updates of events were often distorted. Information was distributed by those in positions of power, to shape a narrative that suited their convenience”.