100 Days of Internet Shutdown in Manipur

On May 3, 2023, the Manipur State Government issued an order suspending mobile internet in the entire state. 100 days later the injustice against the people of Manipur continues. Read IFF’s statement on the 100 days of internet shutdowns in Manipur.

On July 25, the State Government issued an order stating that the suspension of broadband internet services would be lifted in a “liberalised” manner but that the suspension of mobile internet services would continue without providing any end date for this suspension.

Without an end date for the shutdown, this order is prima facie illegal, violating the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services Rules, 2017, as amended & the Supreme Court’s ruling in Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India.

Restoring broadband has done little to improve internet access in the state, as over 96% of Indians access the internet through their mobile devices. Even for those with broadband, expensive, restrictive, & invasive conditions must be fulfilled to access the internet.

In a country like India, where broadband connections are accessible only to the affluent, a suspension of only mobile internet services may amount to complete internet shutdown for most of the population.

Internet shutdowns carry steep costs, largely borne by ordinary people, & are imposed for benefits that are largely speculative. We urge the State Government to end its illegal internet shutdown & meaningfully restore internet access in Manipur at this critical time.

We wrote to the Chief Secretary, Manipur when the internet was first shut down in 2 districts on April 27 & have been engaged in constant advocacy on the issue ever since. But sustained advocacy needs your support to fight illegal internet bans.