The Manipur government extended the suspension of internet services for another five days on Sunday, to curb the spread of rumors and hate speeches amid reports of recurrence of incidents like arson of houses.
The order, issued by the Manipur Home Department, said there is apprehension that some anti-social elements might use social media extensively for the 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.
As per official, “There is an imminent danger of loss of life and/or damage to public and private property, and wide spread disturbances to public tranquility and communal harmony, as a result of inflammatory material and false rumours, which might be transmitted/ circulated to the public through social media/messaging services on mobile services, SMS services, and dongle services.”
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 like tablet, computer, mobile phone etc, official added.
Sending bulk SMS, for facilitating and or mobilisation of mobs of agitators and demonstrators, can cause loss of life and or damage to public and private property by indulging in arson and vandalism and other types of violent activities, it said.
It was further added that the suspensions are being continued “to prevent any disturbances of peace of the public, under the jurisdiction of Manipur, and shall be in force for another five days with immediate effect, from the time the suspension order becomes operational” till 3:00 pm of May 26, 2023.
Any person found guilty of violation of the government orders will be liable to legal action, the notification said.
The state government suspended mobile internet on May 3 after the state witnessed unprecedented violent clashes in 10 of the 16 districts during and after the ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ called by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur (ATSUM) to oppose the demand for inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe category.