Merely a couple of days after mobile internet services were restored in the northeast Indian state of Manipur, the government has once again decided to suspend the services. In a circular released on Tuesday (Sep 26) evening, the Manipur government said in light of the ongoing law and order situation, mobile internet services will remain suspended for five days till October 1.  

“The state government decides to suspend/curb the mobile internet data services, internet/data services through VPN in the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Manipur for 5 days with immediate effect till 7:45 PM of 01-10-2023,” read the notification. 

The government said the main purpose of suspending the services was to ensure that disinformation and false rumours cannot spread across the state.  

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“In view of the prevalling law and order situation in the State of Manipur, the State Government views very seriously with utmost sensitivity the reported spread of disinformation, false rumours and other types of violent activities through various social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.”

The decision comes after the state has been embroiled in fresh protests that flared up after two students were brutally murdered by suspected armed men. 

Notably, it was only over the weekend that internet services were restored in the state after being snapped for nearly five months. 

Chief Minister N Biren Singh had made the announcement but the deterioration in the law and order situation situation has forced his government to track back on the situation.  

What is happening in Manipur?

Manipur has been rocked by ethnic violence since May. Over 160 people have been killed while tens of thousands have been displaced.

The violence started after a court ordered the state government to consider extending special economic benefits and quotas in government jobs and education enjoyed by the tribal Kuki people to the majority Meitei population as well.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Meanwhile, Nagas and Kukis constitute little over 40 per cent and reside in the hill districts. 

What started with street protests spiralled into an armed conflict. The Narendra Modi-led central government even faced a ‘no-trust motion’ in the parliament, brought by the newly-minted opposition bloc called INDIA, for failing to address the situation in the state. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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