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India celebrates 72nd Republic Day with Internet shutdowns in the Capital

Mobile internet connection has been temporarily suspended in several parts of India’s National Capital Region, including Singhu border, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi and New Delhi as the farmer protests continue on the 72nd Republic Day of India.

The streets of New Delhi and many other parts of the National Capital Region are erupting in protests as farmers rally against the farm laws passed in the Lok Sabha in 2020 — the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.

Tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting peacefully on the outskirts of New Delhi since November. As they moved into the capital for the ‘Kisan tractor rally’, there have been reports that the internet has been shut down in several parts of NCR, with confirmation that Jio and Vodafone-Idea have suspended services.

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order to temporarily suspend telecom services in the NCT of Delhi till midnight on January 26, 2021.

While some areas and networks might experience temporary shutdowns, most of the people will be affected by slow internet connection speeds as telcos might switch to 2G.

India celebrates 72nd Republic Day with Internet shutdowns in the capital

Today, marks the 72nd Republic Day of India, an important landmark in its contemporary history. The nation unveiled its own constitution, which is famed for being one of the world’s longest, after having achieved freedom from British’s tyrannical rule. However, some would say there isn’t much to celebrate today.

India has seen one of the highest numbers of internet shutdowns in the past five years, with Kashmir bearing the brunt of the “preventive measures” enacted by the PM Modi-led NDA government. The internet shutdown over the past five years has cost the economy over $3 billion, according to estimates by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations.

Source: Internetshutdowns.in (via SFLC.in) | Shared under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 | Edited for correction of the year 2018.

While internet shutdowns have been imposed primarily to counter the spread of false news during communal, religious or caste-based tensions among the citizens in a particular city, they are also a widely-known tool leveraged by the Indian government to curb dissent, as was also seen during the CAA-NRC protests between December 2019 and March 2020. And the internet shutdown on India’s 72nd Republic Day is no different.

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