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Manipur High Court Directs State To Provide Limited Internet Services

The High Court will hear the case again on June 23. (file)

Guwahati:

Following requests filed by several individuals, the Manipur High Court in an interim order today directed the state authorities to provide limited internet services to the public in some designated places under their control. The High Court will hear the case again on June 23.

The High Court took into consideration the hardship faced by the public, especially with regard to the ongoing admission process of the students, and to enable the public to carry out their urgent and essential services.

“Taking into consideration the hardship faced by the public, specially with regard to the ongoing admission process of the students in the State, and to enable the public for carrying out their urgent and essential services, the State authorities are directed to provide limited internet service to the public in some designated places under the control of the state authorities,” the order said.

Manipur has been facing an internet ban since May 4, a day after ethnic clashes broke out in the northeastern state between the Kukis and Meities following a high court direction to consider granting Scheduled Tribe status to the Meities.

The court directed service providers Vodafone, Idea, Jio, BSNL, and Airtel to file a short affidavit explaining whether there is any feasibility of providing limited internet services to the public by blocking social media website and by safeguarding the concern of the state government to maintain law and order in the state.

The order was issued by Justices Ahanthem Bimol Singh and A Guneshwar Sharma while hearing a bunch of Public Interest Litigations seeking restoration of internet services in the state on Friday.

It was, however, made known Tuesday, advocates said.

The bench has set the next date of consideration for these cases on June 23 and in the meantime, the parties involved have been granted the liberty to exchange their affidavits as they see fit.

More than 100 people have lost their lives in the violence between Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur that broke out over a month ago.

Clashes first broke out in Manipur on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

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