This year, more than a few cases of internet services were suspended in several states such as Telangana, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Internet services were restored in the Baran district of Rajasthan the day after a curfew was imposed and the Internet connection was cut following the murder of a teenager, Rajasthan police confirmed to MediaNama.
At a time when the internet is such an integral part of people’s lives, disruptions in connectivity, whether for political reasons or as a measure to contain the aftermath of crime, result in massive disruption and can be described as containment Freedom of speech. These issues have been hotly debated since communications services in Jammu and Kashmir were shut down on August 4, 2019, the day before the Indian parliament repealed Article 370, which gave the state a special status. 4G services were restored in parts of Union territory almost a year after their suspension.
The incident: Azad, a resident of Shramik Colony in the Talab Para area of Baran, was allegedly killed by a group on Saturday night over a year-long argument, a PTI Report said, adding that police have named a Hemant Rathore as the main defendant in the case. CCTV footage of the murder showing a man raining beatings on a busy street in the middle of the day and shooting the apparently lifeless body of Azad was widely circulated Social media platforms. Police have denied every community aspect of the incident, claiming that it was due to personal animosity between a group of people.
Thereafter, the county government imposed a curfew under Section 144 of the CrPC and banned internet services for 24 hours until 3 a.m. on Monday under the boundaries of the Baran parish council, the PTI report said.
In conversation with MediaNama, Superintendent of the Baran Police, Vineet Kumar BansalHe said, “The internet has been blocked as a precaution to prevent rumors from spreading. It is known that a lot of fake news is spread on social media platforms. Connectivity has now been restored in Baran. “
Up to three people have been arrested and cases are under Section 302 were registered against her based on the complaint made by the victim’s family.
Internet Shutdowns: A Look At Past Incidents
- In March, internet services in Bhainsa, a small town in northern Telangana, were suspended as a result of clashes at the municipal level. Mobile internet has been blocked in the city to prevent people from sharing content that could make the situation worse. The small town in the Nirmal district, not far from the border with Maharasthra, last experienced an internet shutdown in January 2020 after similar communal clashes.
- The Union Interior Ministry ordered telecommunications operators to provide Internet services in Singhu, Tikri, Ghazipur. adjust in January of this year to “maintain public security and avert a public emergency” amid continued peasant protest. The internet was blocked in these areas from 11pm on January 29th to 11pm on January 31st. Telecommunications sources have confirmed to MediaNama that they have received the order from the Ministry of Interior.
- The government of Haryana has shut down internet and text messaging services in several areas of the state after clashes between farmers and law enforcement agencies in Delhi in January. The closure was ordered in the Sonipat, Palwal and Jhajjar districts and was in effect until January 27 at 5:00 p.m. The government claimed it would shut down these services in order to contain misinformation about the clashes, which could be spread via social media platforms or text messages.
- Internet services have been discontinued in several areas of the National Capital Territory on January 26 following clashes between farmers (who protested the recently enacted agricultural laws) and law enforcement agencies. The order issued by the Ministry of Interior said that Internet services in Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi and “adjacent areas” would be suspended.
- The Rajasthan government shut down mobile internet services in several parts of Jaipur district in November in the wake of the ongoing Gujjar agitation. The mobile internet was switched off for 24 hours on November 2nd from 5:00 p.m. in the Tehsils (blocks) of Kotputli, Paota, Shahpura, Viratnagar and Jamwaramgarh, Phagi, Madhorajpura, Dudu and Mojmabad. All internet services except broadband have been switched off.
- Rajasthan has shut down the internet in four counties – Dungarpur, Udaipur, Banswara and Pratapgarh – in September 2020, after violent protests broke out in Dungarpur district, the Hindustan Times reported reported. Hundreds of tribal youths reportedly blocked National Road No. 8 in Dungarpur, demanding that over 1,100 unreserved government teacher positions be filled with ST candidates. The Internet has been shut down in the districts of Dungarpur, Udapur, Banswara and Pratapgarh.
The rules for turning off the Internet were changed in November 2020
The Indian government changed the Internet Shutdown Rules, officially known as the temporary suspension of telecommunications services, to limit the validity of suspension orders to 15 days. The change was announced in the Official Gazette on November 10th. Any state or central home office – the only ones legally empowered to order internet blocks – can now only suspend the internet for a period of 15 days by order.
This is on top of the due process they must already follow, such as forming a review committee after a suspension and issuing suspension orders only by the Home Secretary. While the change is likely to be aimed at preventing lengthy blackouts like the seven-month internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir, administrations can still restrict internet access by simply placing new orders every 15 days.