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Manipur extends mobile internet ban till November 8

The Manipur government has extended the mobile internet ban in the state till November 8. As per the official notification issued by Commissioner (Home) T. Ranjit Singh, the ban was extended following “apprehensions that anti-social elements might use social media extensively for transmission of images, hate speeches and hate video messages inciting the passions of the public which might have serious repercussions for the law and order situation in the state,” reported PTI.

On November 1, a mob attacked a Manipur Rifles camp to loot its armoury, prompting security personnel to fire several rounds in air.

The notice further stressed the existence of “elements of imminent danger of loss of life and/or damage to public-private property…as a result of inflammatory material and false rumours which might be transmitted/ circulated to the public through social media…in the context of the recent incidents of violence in some parts of the state”.

The state capital has been witnessing tensions following an incident that took place on October 31 where an SDPO was shot dead by tribal militants at Moreh town.

Mobile internet has remained banned in Manipur since May 3 except for a few days in the month of September. The internet ban was imposed following ethnic clashes that broke out in Manipur in May 2023. The government has been extending the prohibition of mobile internet periodically.

Ten districts in the north-eastern state have been affected by the ethnic strife. Broadband services were made partially available in mid-July. These broadband services were also banned for around two months from May 4.

For the first time, the order said the state government would “go for opening of mobile towers on trial basis in those district headquarters which had not been affected by violence”.

The government order added, “The same, if found feasible, shall be replicated to other areas where the law and order situation has improved.”

Over 180 people have been killed since ethnic clashes first broke out in May. Manipur has remained gripped by recurring bouts of violence ever since. Both sides had a number of grievances against the other that culminated into clashes with the main issue being a move to give Meiteis Scheduled Tribe status and an attempt to turf out tribals living in protected forest areas. The order to give Meiteis Scheduled Tribe status has been rolled back.

Tribals which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and live mainly in the hill districts while Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population that resides mostly in the Imphal Valley. PTI

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