After months of suspension, mobile internet services have been restored in Manipur, as announced by Chief Minister N Biren Singh. The services had been suspended on May 3, following widespread violence in the state.
The Chief Minister's announcement comes after a conditional restoration of broadband services in July. The decision to restore internet services is a significant move towards normalising the situation in the state.
"I am pleased to announce that mobile internet services are now fully operational in Manipur. This decision was made after careful consideration of the current situation in our state. We believe it will aid in the restoration of normalcy and support our citizens in their day-to-day activities," Chief Minister Singh said in a statement.
The suspension of internet services was a safety measure taken by the authorities after violent protests and clashes erupted over territorial disputes in the region. It was a step to prevent the spread of misinformation and rumours that could have potentially fueled more violence.
This prolonged internet suspension had a significant impact on the daily lives of residents, affecting various sectors such as education, business, and healthcare. Online classes, e-commerce, and telemedicine services were heavily disrupted due to the internet blackout.
According to a report by the Internet Shutdowns in India project, Manipur recorded the longest internet shutdown in the country in 2020, lasting for over 150 days. The report also highlighted that India has the highest number of internet shutdowns globally.
|Year||Total Shutdowns||Longest Shutdown|
|2020||83||Manipur (150+ days)|
|2019||134||Jammu and Kashmir (213 days)|
Internet rights activists have long argued that prolonged internet shutdowns are a violation of human rights. They believe that the internet is an essential tool for communication, education, and business, especially during a pandemic where online services have become more vital than ever.
The restoration of mobile internet services in Manipur is a welcome relief for its residents. However, it also calls attention to the broader issue of internet shutdowns in the country and the need for more transparent rules regarding their implementation.