The Manipur government has decided to extend the ban on internet services in the state for an additional five days until May 31, following a series of fresh incidents of violence. This extension means that the people of Manipur will be disconnected from the internet for almost a month due to the ongoing turmoil.
The decision to extend the ban comes as Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Pande, arrived in Imphal, ahead of Home Minister Amit Shah's proposed three-day visit to the strife-torn state.
Ban was initially imposed in May 3
Last week, the state home department had announced that the internet ban would continue until May 26. The ban was initially imposed on May 3, following widespread violence triggered by clashes between tribal and non-tribal groups. The clashes have resulted in 73 deaths and 230 injuries, with 1,700 houses being torched and reduced to ashes.
The government's rationale for the internet ban is to prevent the spread of disinformation, false rumors, and hate speech through various social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The authorities fear that anti-social elements may exploit these platforms to incite public passions, leading to further deterioration of law and order in Manipur.
About Manipur violence
The violence initially erupted due to protests by tribal Kuki groups against a proposed change in the state's reservation system, which aimed to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the Meitei community in Churachandpur town. The situation remains tense, with sporadic incidents of violence and the need for heightened security measures.
The ban on internet services has significantly impacted the lives of citizens in Manipur, hindering communication, access to information, and economic activities.