By Indrajit Kundu: In the wake of fresh incidents of violence, the Manipur government on Saturday further extended the ban on internet services in the state for another five days until May 31. The extension of the internet ban comes on the day when the Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Pande, arrived in Imphal ahead of Home Minister Amit Shah’s three-day proposed visit to the strife-torn state.
With the latest extension, citizens in Manipur will effectively remain disconnected from the internet for almost a month due to the turmoil. Earlier on Thursday, one person was killed and the other was injured in fresh violence that erupted in Manipur’s Bishnupur.
Last week, the state home department, in an order dated May 21 announced that the internet ban would continue till May 26. The ban was extended to prevent the “spread of disinformation and false rumours, through various social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook , Instagram, Twitter etc.”
“There is 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 the state of Manipur,” the order had stated then.
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The internet ban was first imposed on May 3, after widespread violence broke out following clashes between tribals and non-tribals in the state. The violent clashes have so far claimed 73 lives and 230 others were injured.
Miscreants torched 1,700 houses in the state and reduced them to ashes.
It all started on May 3 when tribal Kuki groups called for protests against a proposed tweak to the state’s reservation matrix, granting Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the majority Meitei community in Churachandpur town.