Manipur extends internet suspension till May 20; issues helpline number to report rumours related to clashes

Manipur extends internet suspension till May 20; issues helpline number to report rumours related to clashes

The government fears that anti-social elements may exploit social media platforms to spread hate speech, incite public unrest, and worsen the law and order situation in Manipur.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 11:38 AM IST
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Manipur extends internet suspension till May 20; issues helpline number to report rumours related to clashes | Representative image

The Manipur government has extended the suspension of internet services throughout the state until May 20. The decision was made in response to ongoing reports of incidents, including fighting among volunteers and youths from different communities, as well as arson attacks on houses.

The government fears that anti-social elements may exploit social media platforms to spread hate speech, incite public unrest, and worsen the law and order situation in Manipur.

Reasons for internet suspension

The order issued by the Home Department of Manipur states that the suspension is necessary to prevent the spread of disinformation, false rumors, and provocative content through various social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and SMS.

Internet suspension orders

Internet suspension orders |

It aims to curtail the mobilisation of mobs, agitators, and demonstrators that can lead to loss of life and damage to public and private property through arson, vandalism, and other forms of violence. The government cites the need to maintain peace, communal harmony, and public safety as the primary reasons behind the internet suspension.

Internet suspended since May 3 after clashes broke

The order imposes a further five-day suspension and curbing of mobile data services, internet, and data services including broadband throughout Manipur. The measure aims to prevent disturbances to peaceful coexistence, public order, and the jurisdiction of the state. The internet suspension has been in effect since May 3, initially covering mobile internet services, and extended to include all other forms of internet on May 4. The government hopes that by curbing internet access, the spread of rumors and misinformation can be controlled, contributing to the maintenance of law and order.

Efforts to address rumors and maintain peace

To counter the spread of rumors, Manipur's security advisor has introduced a dedicated phone number (9485280461) for reporting and verifying information.

The 'Rumour Free Manipur' initiative encourages individuals to share any knowledge or incidents suspected to be correct or incorrect by calling the designated number and providing details. This approach aims to address the circulation of false information and rumors that can fuel tensions and contribute to violence.

Manipur sees peace after long time violence

Despite the internet suspension, the overall situation in Manipur remained peaceful on Tuesday, with no major reports of violence. However, the violent clashes in the state have tragically resulted in at least 73 deaths and 230 injuries. Additionally, over 1,700 houses have been destroyed by arson attacks perpetrated by miscreants.

The government's decision to extend the internet suspension reflects its commitment to maintaining public safety, curbing the spread of hate speech, and preventing further violence and damage to property.

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