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The Times of India
The Times of India
Piyush Tripathi | TNN

Agnipath protests: Internet services suspended in 15 districts of Bihar

PATNA: In the wake of widespread protests against Centre’s new armed forces short- term recruitment scheme- Agnipath, the state government on Friday evening suspended internet services for transmission of messages through social networking sites and instant messaging services in 15 out of total 38 districts in Bihar till Sunday (June 19).

The districts where internet services have been temporarily suspended include Kaimur, Bhojpur, Aurangabad, Rohtas, Buxar, Nawada, West Champaran, East Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Vaishali and Saran.

An order issued by the home department in this regard stated that based on inputs and as reported by ADG (law and order), it is reasonably apprehended that some anti-social elements in the identified districts are using internet medium to transmit objectionable content in order to spread rumour at large with a view to inciting public and cause damage to life and property.

“We were getting reports that internet and social media were being rampantly used for spreading rumours regarding a new government recruitment policy, which led to vandalism and hooliganism in many districts in the state over the last two days. Accordingly, a decision has been taken to temporarily suspend internet services for two days in order to curb rumour- mongering and the resultant violence,” ADG (law and order) Sanjay Singh told TOI on Friday evening.

The order issued by home department also stated that misuse of social networking websites and instant messaging services is likely to be detrimental to the interest of peace and tranquilly in the identified districts.

Accordingly, the order was issued by additional chief secretary (home) Chaitanya Prasad to all internet service providers(ISPs), that any message to or from any person or class of persons relating to any subject or any pictorial content through selected social networking sites or application shall not be transmitted in the selected districts. The order has been issued in exercise of the powers conferred by respective provisions of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 read with Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017.

The social networking sites and messaging applications, which have been suspended in the selected 18 districts, include Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Google+, Skype, Snapchat, WeChat and Viber among others.

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