The Manipur State Government declared the cessation of the internet shutdown across most of the state on December 3, attributing the decision to ameliorating the prevailing law and order situation. This development follows an extended suspension of mobile data services initiated on May 26, 2023
The original order, intended to last for five days under Rule 2 of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017, saw multiple extensions due to the persistently volatile conditions in the region. Despite the challenges, the recent decision to lift the internet shutdown is expected to bring relief to a substantial portion of the state’s populace, who faced inconvenience throughout the prolonged suspension period.
Highlighting the reported enhancement in the law and order scenario as a pivotal factor, the Government, despite the widespread lifting of the internet shutdown, enforces sustained restrictions in specific conflict areas. Mobile towers operating within a 2-kilometre radius along the borders of districts, encompassing Chandel and Kakching, Churachandpur and Bishnupur, Churachandpur and Kakching, Kangpokpi and Imphal West, Kangpokpi and Imphal East, Kangpokpi and Thoubal, as well as Tengnoupal and Kakching, will continue to experience suspended operations.
Effective immediately, the government’s directive aims to strike a delicate balance between ensuring public safety and reinstating normalcy. It mandates mobile service providers to adhere to the updated regulations while urging internet users to exercise caution and avoid activities that could precipitate future suspensions.
However, the suspension of mobile towers catering to specific conflict zones will persist until 7:45 PM on December 18, 2023. This decision underscores the government’s cautious approach, acknowledging the necessity of connectivity in most regions while maintaining vigilance in areas where tensions persist.
It should be mentioned that the unrest began in Manipur on May 3 this year during a solidarity march organised by tribal students union against the decision of including the Meitei community in ST list. Over 180 people lost their lives in the violence continued for over 7 months. 60 thousand people were internally displaced in the ethnic clash that boiled the state for last 7-8 months.