“The social media has also become a handy tool for rumour mongers and is being used to incite general public which might have serious repercussions for the law and order situation in the State”, said an order issued by the Manipur Government.
Manipur Special Secretary (Home) H Gyan Prakash late on Saturday issued an order suspending mobile data services across the state till further orders. The state action followed the setting an Eco-van on fire at Phougakchao Ikhai Awang Leikai along Tiddim Road NH-02 by three/four youths suspected to be members of a community. Any person found guilty for violation of the order will be liable for legal action, said the order.
According to the order issued by the Special Secretary (Home), “the crime has created tense communal situation and volatile law and order situation” in Manipur.
The order further said “some anti-social elements” are using social media extensively for transmission of images, hate speech and hate video messages inciting the passions of the public. “The social media has also become a handy tool for rumour mongers and is being used to incite general public which might have serious repercussions for the law and order situation in the State”, added the order.
H Gyan Prakash said that there is an imminent danger of loss of life and/or damage to public/private property, and wide spread disturbances to public tranquillity and communal harmony, as a result of inflammatory material and false rumours, which are being/could be transmitted/circulated to the public through social media/ messaging services on mobile services, SMS services and dongle services.
To thwart the design and activities of “anti-national and anti-social elements and to maintain peace and communal harmony and to prevent any loss of life or danger to public/private property, 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 platform such as Whatsapp, Facebook etc. on mobile phone and SMS, for facilitating and/or mobilization of mobs of agitators and demonstrators, which can cause loss of life and/or damage to public/private property by indulging in arson/vandalism and other types of violent activities, said the order.
The suspension of the mobile data services has been invoked in exercise of the powers conferred under Rule 2 of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017, having satisfied that the situation is likely to cause serious disturbances to the entire peaceful co-existence of the communities and maintenance of public order.
Mobile data services are now curbed in the territorial jurisdiction of the entire State of Manipur. All Mobile Service providers have been directed to ensure compliance of the order.