22 Dec 2019
Apparently, India cuts internet more than any other country
In the wake of violent protests against CAA/CAB, the Indian Government has created another concern for people in the country - unexpected internet shutdown.
Major cities, including Delhi and Lucknow, recently suffered from long internet outages to prevent the "spread of misinformation".
But, if you look closely, the problem has only been growing, with India leading the world in internet shutdowns.
India accounting for 67% of global internet shutdowns
Recently, internet advocacy group Access Now revealed that India shuts down the internet more than any other country in the world.
As of 2018, internet shutdowns in India accounted for 67% of the total number of suspensions reported all over the world.
Notably, the figures didn't include exact numbers for authoritarian states like China and North Korea owing to the lack of public data.
Over 370 shutdowns since 2012
Going by numbers released by Software Freedom and Law Center (SFLC), the world's largest democracy witnessed as many as 373 internet shutdowns since January 2012.
In 2012, 2013, and 2014, the number of shutdowns was just five, three, and six, respectively, but then it increased to 14 in 2015, 31 in 2016, 79 in 2017, and 134 in 2018, the highest for that year.
103 shutdowns this year alone
As for this year, the month of December has not ended and the country has already witnessed as many as 103 internet cut-offs, according to SFLC stats.
This includes the recent temporary shutdowns in New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, and Arunachal Pradesh as well as the shutdown that has been active in Indian-administered Kashmir for more than four months.
Internet in Kashmir
Internet was shut down in Kashmir in August
The internet in Kashmir was suspended to "keep the peace" in the region after it was stripped of its semi-autonomous status with the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution. Even today, it has no internet service.
In fact, SFLC's stats indicate that the region of Jammu and Kashmir alone has had 180 shutdowns since 2012, accounting for half of the total shutdowns.
Concerns among Indian citizens
In most internet blackouts, the government says that the action was taken as a preventive step to maintain law and order, but there have also been reasons like preventing kids from cheating in exams.
Now, this kind of internet control has raised concerns among Indians as it keeps them from voicing their opinions publicly, effectively stripping away their freedom of speech and expression.
Here's one of the many tweets against India's internet shutdown
India has shutdown internet more number of times than any other country in the world in the last few years.— Roshan Rai (@TheRoshanRai) December 12, 2019
We call ourselves world's largest democracy and yet we allow our governments to dictate us when we can use internet and when we can't.
Enough is enough!