India

Is India intolerant? Internet shutdown 29 times in 2017

18 Jul 2017 | By Roma Das
Internet suspended 29 times in 2017 in India

As per Brookings Institution report, India lost over Rs. 6,548 crore in business due to Internet shutdowns in the past 3 years.

Keeping business repercussions aside, in a democracy like India, frequent Internet shutdowns make one wonder if India has indeed become intolerant.

Here is the list of Internet shutdowns pan-India this year.

In context: Internet suspended 29 times in 2017 in India

18 Jul 2017Is India intolerant? Internet shutdown 29 times in 2017

J&KInternet shutdown in J&K: A regular affair

The Kashmir Valley over time has become synonymous with Internet shutdowns.

There have been at least 10 cases of Internet suspension due to various incidents in this year itself.

The most recent being during the killing of Amarnath pilgrims by terrorists in Kashmir.

Earlier, Internet services were suspended for around 17 days after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani.

Jat agitation, Saharanpur violence accounted for Internet suspension

Haryana and UPJat agitation, Saharanpur violence accounted for Internet suspension

Haryana witnessed the Internet suspension at least 5 times so far in 2017, once in March and the other times in January because of the Jat agitation. To prevent rumour mongering, Internet was shutdown in certain sensitive areas.

After the Saharanpur violence, Internet services were shut down across the entire district. Internet services have so far been suspended for 2 times in UP.

Rajasthan3 times Internet was shutdown in Raje's state

Rajasthan is another state which saw a total of 3 Internet shutdowns so far in 2017.

In June 2017, Internet services were suspended in Nagaur and Churu in view of the protests by Rajputs over the encounter of gangster Anandpal Singh.

Earlier in March, Rajasthan's Sikar district experienced an Internet shutdown as a scuffle broke out between two rival groups.

MP and West BengalAll wasn't well in Shivraj and Didi's haven

Internet services in Mandsaur, Ratlam and Ujjain were suspended after police opened fire during a farmers' protest in the state.

West Bengal too witnessed Internet suspension after mobile Internet services were taken down 3 times so far in West Bengal due to a Facebook post, which led to intense clashes in Baduria and Basirhat.

Also, Darjeeling too suspended Internet over Gorkhaland issue.

Other statesNo Internet in Nagaland, Odisha and Maharashtra too

As clashes took place between urban local bodies and the state government over reservation in civic body elections, Internet services remained suspended in Nagaland.

State wide protests by the farmers in Maharashtra led to mobile Internet services being taken down.

Similarly in Odisha, Internet services were suspended for 48 hours in the wake of an objectionable post on social media.

AnalysisFreedom of speech and expression in democratic India

Suspension of Internet services in the recent times in India have only fuelled speculations, thus questioning the idea of democracy.

The Human Rights Watch condemned such an act stating that it showed the urge to suppress non-violent reporting and criticism of the government.

The phenomenon of Internet shutdowns comes in direct contradiction of government's propagation of Digital India.