Politics

Internet access restored in violence-hit Indian state after 4-month blockade

New Delhi, Sep 23 (EFE).- Authorities restored internet connectivity in a northeastern region of India on Tuesday, four months after they snapped the access following a wave of ethnic violence that has left 175 dead and displaced over 50,000 people.

“As a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of rumours and videos, photos, and messages, which might affect the law and order situation of the state, the state government imposed a ban on the internet. But from today onwards the internet ban will be lifted,” Chief Minister N. Biren Singh told reporters in the state capital, Imphal.

The authorities had lifted the Internet blockade partially, but some restrictions continued on mobile services, social networks, and virtual private networks (VPNs).

Manipur is has witnessed months of ethnic violence that began on May 3, leaving at least 175 dead and more than a wounded, according to authorities.

The violence displaced more than 50,000 people from their homes, who have taken refuge at shelter camps.

The violence erupted after the Manipur high court recommended that the majority ethnic group Meitei be included in the list of disadvantaged tribes or indigenous communities, which infuriated the minority Kuki community, concentrated in the hilly areas of the state,

The Kukis – a mostly Christian community – have been opposing the largely Hindu Meiteis’ demand to be identified as underprivileged “scheduled tribes” (ST), which could result in them getting quotas in public sector jobs and higher education.

The court’s decision was seen by the Kukis as a way to take away their few privileges and make the Hindu ethnic majority prevail.

Subsequently armed violence has continued on and off between the two communities for the last four months, triggering a suspension of internet services in the state and restrictions on citizens movements, cutting off communication and real-time access to information in and about the region.

The conflict has also reverberated in the Indian parliament, where opposition parties have accused the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – whose party is also in power in Manipur – of remaining silent and ineffective in controlling the violence. EFE

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