Imphal: The Manipur government on Saturday, considering the state’s volatile situation, extended the ban on mobile Internet service for another five days till November 23.
An official said the ban was extended as a preventive measure to curb the spread of misleading messages, photos and videos by anti-social elements.
Mobile Internet was first banned in Manipur 200 days ago after the ethnic violence between non-tribals Meitei and tribal Kuki-Zo communities broke out in Manipur on May 3.
Since then, the ban has been extended after every five days. Manipur Commissioner (Home), T. Ranjit Singh, said in a notification on Saturday that the Director General of Police has said that there are reports related to volatile law and order situation of Manipur like ambush at security forces, protest against missing persons, highway blockade, sit-in-protest, etc.
“There is an apprehension that some anti-social elements might use social media extensively for transmission of images, hate speech and hate video messages inciting the passions of the public which might have serious repercussions for the law and order situation in Manipur.
“There is an imminent danger of loss of life and /or damage to public/private property, and wide spread disturbances to public tranquility and communal harmony, as a result of inflammatory material and false rumours, which might be transmitted/circulated to the public through social media/ messaging services on mobile services, SMS services and dongle services,” the notification said.
Last week, the Manipur government had lifted the ban on mobile internet in four Naga tribal inhabited hill district headquarters, which have not been affected by the ethnic violence.
On a trial basis, Internet ban was withdrawn in the district headquarters of Ukhrul, Senapati, Chandel and Tamenglong after the Manipur High Court on November 6 directed the state government to resume mobile Internet services, on a trial basis, in all those district headquarters which have not been affected by the ethnic violence.
In view of the state government’s steps to resume mobile Internet service in four hill district headquarters, the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) had announced on November 9 the withdrawal of the economic blockade from the highways.
After the situation largely normalised, Internet ban was lifted on September 23, but it had to be imposed again on September 26 after hundreds of students clashed with security forces after images of the bodies of two missing students were circulated on social media.