In a significant development in the aftermath of ethnic clashes between Kuki and Meiteis in Manipur, the state government has decided to lift the mobile internet ban that had been in effect for the past seven months. The decision aims to ease the inconveniences faced by the public while taking into account the improved law and order situation.
Internet Services Resumed, but Restrictions Persist
Mobile internet services have been reinstated, bringing relief to residents. However, six specific areas, including districts like Chandel, Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, and Tengnoupal, will continue to experience suspended operations for mobile towers within a 2km radius. This targeted approach is implemented to maintain control in areas where tensions were particularly high.
Background of the Ban: Ethnic Violence and Legal Intervention
The ban on mobile internet services was initially imposed on May 3 following a bout of ethnic violence. The conflict between Kuki and Meitei communities prompted the government to take preventive measures. However, recent improvements in the law and order situation led to the decision to revoke the ban.
The Manipur High Court played a pivotal role in this decision. In response to a plea, the court emphasized that a blanket ban on mobile internet across the entire state couldn’t be sustained. It affirmed that internet services form an integral part of the right to free speech, as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Next Steps and Public Interest
The relaxation of the mobile internet ban is set to remain in effect until December 18, allowing for a gradual restoration of normalcy. The state government aims to balance public safety with the fundamental rights of residents. The decision reflects a nuanced approach to address the challenges posed by the recent turmoil in Manipur.