Manipur internet ban ‘partially revoked’, state govt allows broadband services in ‘liberalised manner’

Internet services in Manipur are being restored after nearly three months of blackout, with the state government set to allow broadband services under certain conditions.

Anwesha Mitra
Updated25 Jul 2023
Congress supporters stage a protest against the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur, in Srinagar on Monday.
Congress supporters stage a protest against the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur, in Srinagar on Monday. (ANI)

Internet services in Manipur are being restored to a certain degree after nearly three months of blackout. According to an official communique, the state government “has made considered decision to lift suspension in case of broadband service conditionally in a liberalised manner” subject to several conditions and safeguards.

As per the orders shared by the Governor, mobile internet data will however continue to remain suspended. The Home department cited apprehensions about the spread of disinformation and false rumours via social media platforms and the possibility of agitators being mobilised via these digital means. 

“The state government decides to keep suspension of mobile internet data as preparedness for having effective control and regulatory mechanism for mobile data service is not technically feasible,” the notice explained.

ALSO READ: Govt, Opposition seek Parliament debate on Manipur crisis under different rules

It however remains somewhat unclear to what degree internet usage will actually resume in the coming days. The missive has also come under scrutiny from several quarters. 

"The internet has not been ‘partially’ lifted but to a ‘small’ and ‘negligible’ number of users of the total pie. Wireline will prefer institutional and users on higher income groups that comprise a ‘tiny’ number of users of the total pie. Even for them severe restrictions include banning WiFi hotspots, social media, VPNs. Also includes ‘enforced social monitoring’ that can mean anything," noted Internet Freedom Foundation co-founder Apar Gupta.

The Manipur High Court has recently asked the State's home department to allow internet access through Internet Leased Lines (ILL) for businesses and offices as well as consider providing broadband connectivity through Fibre to the Home (FTTH) for household use on a case-by-case basis. Following this, the state government had approached the Supreme Court with a plea against the HC order.

“Since the High Court is seized of the matter, let it deal with this. We will advise you to go to the High Court. In any case, we are here,” the SC bench said while disposing of the plea.

(With inputs from agencies)

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