Imphal, May 27, 2023, IANS
The Manipur government has decided to extend the suspension of internet services in the state until May 31. The move comes amidst sporadic incidents of violence and aims to prevent the dissemination of rumours, videos, photos, and messages that could potentially disrupt the law and order situation in the ethnically volatile northeastern state.
H. Gyan Prakash, the Commissioner of Home in Manipur, issued a notification regarding the extension of the internet suspension. The Director General of Police, Manipur, had reported ongoing incidents such as arson of houses and premises, prompting concerns about the misuse of social media platforms to propagate hate speech, incite public passion, and circulate inflammatory videos and messages. The government believes that such activities could have serious repercussions for the state's law and order situation.
The violence initially erupted on May 3 during and after the 'Tribal Solidarity March' organized by the All Tribal Students' Union of Manipur. The march was held in opposition to the demand for the inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe category. To control the situation, the Manipur government suspended internet services at that time.
The continued suspension of internet services has resulted in additional hardships for the people of Manipur, who are already facing shortages of essential items, transportation fuel, life-saving drugs, and disruptions in banking and ATM facilities.
Various organizations, including the opposition Congress and the media, have been demanding the immediate restoration of internet services in Manipur. They argue that the prolonged suspension has severely impacted the daily lives of the people.
In response to the recent surge in violence, the Indian Army and Assam Rifles have initiated large-scale combing operations in vulnerable areas and the surrounding higher reaches of the Imphal Valley. These operations, conducted in Kangchuk, Motbung, Saikul, Pukhao, and Sagolmang, involve search efforts aimed at locating armed insurgents operating in these regions.
The operations conducted by the Army and Assam Rifles are part of a broader strategy to restore peace and normalcy in Manipur. The troops are utilizing advanced technology, weapons, equipment, and other resources to navigate the challenging terrain of the forested, remote, and mountainous areas.
In recent incidents, the Army and Assam Rifles successfully rescued individuals in villages located in the Churachandpur and Imphal East districts. Prompt action was taken to neutralize the threats posed by hostile elements in these areas.
The government and security forces remain committed to restoring peace and stability in Manipur, and efforts are underway to address the underlying issues and prevent further escalation of violence in the region. (Edited)