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Haryana Nuh Violence: Internet Shutdowns Explained

Image Source: Jagran

Mobile internet connections have been temporarily shut down in the Nuh district of Haryana until August 2 as a result of violent altercations that started between young men and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on a march on Monday.

When stone pelting occurred during the VHP-organized “Shobha Yatra,” in Nuh, several people were hurt, and three died. In Haryana’s Nuh, near Gurugram, automobiles were set on fire during a religious parade and stoned.


“In order to stop the spread of misinformation and rumors through various social media platforms, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, etc., on mobile phones and SMS, for facilitation and mobilisation of mobs of agitators and demonstrators who can cause serious loss of life and damage to public and private properties by indulging in arson or vandalism and other types of violent activities,” the Nuh administration said in an official statement.

Also Read: Communal Tension Rises In Haryana’s Nuh After Stones Hurled At Religious Procession

What Are Internet Shutdowns?

In general, an administrative measure such as an internet shutdown is imposed across India due to communal tensions. Maintaining law and order has become a regular practice in locations with much violence. Manipur and the Nuh district of Haryana are the most recent examples.

An internet shutdown generally refers to a complete ban on internet services in the affected area due to a directive by government officials, who determine the precise region, duration, and number of days based on the circumstances. It can also be limited to mobile internet usage on broadband, cell phones, or both simultaneously.


Image Source: Tech Crunch

The suspension of Internet services works to wipe out online communications, which directly impacts daily functioning in the digital world. However, the government body imposes restrictions on internet usage to provide cover for violence.

The Legality Of Internet Shutdowns:

The temporary suspension of telecom services is governed by the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency & Public Safety) Rules, 2017, promulgated under the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. The 2017 Rules allow temporarily suspending telecom services in a zone for a maximum of 15 days at once.

According to the written guidelines, the procedure is now more challenging and transparent, both positive developments.

On the ground, though, it’s different. Regulation non-compliance is all too frequent. District courts continue to use Section 144 to issue orders to shut down the internet. Additionally, the new rules under the Indian Telegraph Act indicate that orders to shut down the internet must necessarily detail the reasons for doing so.

Anuradha Bhasin, the editor of Kashmir Times, had filed a case in the Supreme Court in 2019 over internet shutdowns. The judgement in Bhasin’s case explicitly recognised two things: that the freedom to access information is a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution; and that the freedom to conduct your trade, profession or business over the internet is also a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(g).


Image Source: The Caravan

Therefore, the right to the internet cannot be curtailed quickly. However, it can be curtailed in the interest of the “sovereignty and security of the state, integrity of the nation, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of an offence.”

India’s History Of Internet Shutdowns:

According to global digital rights group Access Now reports, India implemented 84 internet shutdowns last year, the most of any country in 12 months. In 2021, the number was 106. The recent example of the internet shutdown was seen in Nuh.

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