‘ Internet Shutdown in India’ is the new Normal for Authorities

No Internet Connection
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Every time there is a protest, India resorts to curbing it through the Internet shutdown in the affected areas. So much that India has been named as the ‘Internet Shutdown Capital of the world’ by many. China is happy with this practice and cites it as an example, as it also comes in the League of Nations who practices stern monitoring of online activities.

Internet Shutdown Is a Shutdown of Online Businesses

Internet shutdown
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However, Internet shutdown in regular practice causes negative impacts on the economy in affected areas. In the day and age of digital technology today, the Internet shutdown is like shutting down the basic amenities of a citizen. With that being said, the internet is not only limited to entertainment, ‘Whatsapp’ messages, or ‘Instagram’ updates. From online businesses to communication, banking services to transport bookings, every other aspect of a person’s life has become dependent on the internet.

India’s Routine of Internet Shutdowns in High-Risk Areas

Kashmir suffered a complete shutdown of the internet after the ‘Article 370’ was revoked in the state in August 2019. After the revocation of Article 370(which provided semiautonomous status to Kashmir), curfew was imposed throughout the newly turned’ Union Territory,’ and Internet services were locked down. The people suffered a complete internet blackout for almost four months.

Police protests
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Even now, the services are restored partially in the area, with no broadband connections restored as yet. It has become the longest internet shutdown in the history of Democracy. It has also taken a toll on the economy of ‘Jammu & Kashmir’. The Government, which claimed to boost the economy of the country, has ironically contributed to its decline. Citing it as a measure to avoid terrorist plans, Internet services have been locked down. However, critics also term it as a measure to suppress political protests against the government.

How Internet Shutdowns hamper the economy & people

Kashmir’s internet shutdown after the removal of Article 370 has risen the unemployment, and internet-based businesses have come to a halt. With thousands of artisans now jobless, and the tourism sector bearing the brunt, people are struggling to make ends meet.

Anti Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) Protests in India cause nationwide Internet Shutdowns in 2019

Assam, which was the first Indian state to initiate the anti CAA protests, resumed their internet services after ten days. West Bengal suffered an internet shutdown for several days owing to similar protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) passed in Parliament on December 12, 2019. The national capital of India, New Delhi, was devoid of the internet in various major areas in the wake of continuous protests against CAB.

E-commerce giants, online delivery Apps suffered a huge setback as the sales dipped by 10 to 20% in New Delhi. Similarly, many cities in Uttar Pradesh, especially ‘Lucknow’ have recorded a considerable loss in businesses due to internet shutdown in the areas for many days now. ‘Lucknow’ is actively engaged in the anti CAA protests as it is one of the nation’s Muslim majority areas.

India Leads in Internet Shutdowns

India has witnessed the highest number of Internet shutdowns in 2018 as well as 2019 throughout the world, 134 times and 103 times, respectively. With these record numbers, the country’s sovereignty has surpassed all the nations in the world in regards to internet shutdown.

Mobile
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It comes very easy to India, though shutting down of internet services must be imposed only in the cases of national emergencies, according to a 2017 Telecom Services Law.

Shutting down the Internet enables the government to cut the growing network of protesters and prevent online campaigns that materialize into physical mass demonstrations. People practice their right to freedom, right to an opinion, and find the Internet as a convenient medium to either gather information or broadcast the same. Shutting down or slowing down internet services is a breach of the right to freedom and expression in a democracy. As per reports by UNESCO for 2017-18, India accounted for the majority of Internet shutdowns among South Asian Countries.

About NITI SHARMA

I write stories & news based on Politics, Religion, Health & Lifestyle, Culture, and Technology & Science. I aim to update my readers with the latest news in and around the globe and also familiarize them with the ancient facts and mysteries that surround us. I also love to read, travel, and spend time with my kids.

Have a tip we should know? tips@rhd.news

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