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Tension prevails in Manipur; Govt suspends mobile data services after reports of arson, clashes


In an effort to thwart the “design and activities of anti-national and anti-social elements and to maintain peace”, the government decided to suspend mobile data services in the state

TFM Report

Parts of Manipur, particularly in Churachandpur and Bishnupur districts witnessed palpable tension following a ‘Tribal Solidarity Rally’ called by All Tribal Student’s Union Manipur (ATSUM) in all hill districts of the state. There were reports of violence and clashes between volunteers of different communities. Following the volatile situation, the government of Manipur has  decided to suspend mobile data services in the state.  All mobile service providers are hereby directed to ensure compliance of this order.

An order issued by Commissioner (Home), the Director General of Police, Manipur vide letter No.IC/11(163)/2008-PHQ(Pt)/01422 dated 03-05-2023 reported that, All Tribal Student’s Union Manipur (ATSUM) organized a rally in all hill districts on 03-05-2023 with total shutdown in all hill districts from 6 AM to 4 PM in protest against the demand for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in Scheduled Tribe (ST) category. During this rally and total shutdown there are reports on incidents like fighting amongst volunteers/youths of different communities and situation is tense and volatile in the districts of Bishnupur and Churachandpur, said the order.

The government order said that 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 rumor mongers and is being used to incite general public which might have serious repercussions for the law and order situation in
the State of Manipur.

The state government 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. In an effort 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, the order said that “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, Instagram, Twitter 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”.

Invoking powers conferred under Rule 2 of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017, “having satisfied that the above situation is likely to cause serious disturbances to the entire peaceful co-existence of the communities and maintenance of public order”, the state government has ordered the suspension/curbing of mobile data services in the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Manipur. All Mobile Service providers have been directed to ensure compliance of this order which will be in force for the next 5(five) days. Any person found guilty for violation of aforesaid orders will be liable for legal action, said the order.

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