In Haryana's Karnal, Mobile Internet Services Suspended Ahead Of A Farmer's Meeting

According to a Home Department order, mobile internet services in Karnal district will be suspended from 12:30 p.m. on Monday to midnight on Tuesday.

In Haryana's Karnal, Mobile Internet Services Suspended Ahead Of A Farmer's Meeting
In Haryana's Karnal, Mobile Internet Services Suspended Ahead Of A Farmer's Meeting

A day before the farmer's mahapanchayat and planned gherao of the mini-secretariat over the August 28 lathicharge, the Haryana government ordered the suspension of mobile internet services in Karnal district to "limit the dissemination of disinformation and lies." According to a Home Department order, mobile internet services in Karnal district will be suspended from 12:30 p.m. on Monday to midnight on Tuesday.

Mobile internet services (2G/3G/4G/CDMA/GPRS), SMS services, including bulk SMS (excluding banking and mobile recharge), and all dongle services and other mobile network services, except voice calls, will remain suspended, according to the order, which was issued "to prevent any disturbance of peace and public order in the jurisdiction of Karnal district." Whereas, in the wake of the call for Kisan Mahapanchayat on September 7, it has been brought to my attention via...dated September 6 by ADGP (CID), Haryana...and District Magistrate, Karnal, that there is a risk of intensification of protest, which could negatively affect public safety and law and order in Karnal district.

"And whereas, there is a clear potential of disruption of public utilities and safety, damage to public assets and amenities and law and order in district Karnal on account of misuse of internet services by way of spread of inflammatory material and false rumours, which are being/could be transmitted/circulated to the public through social media/messaging services on mobile Internet services, SMS services and other dongle services," the order said.

The suspension of mobile Internet services was ordered to prevent the propagation of misinformation and rumours via social media platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter on mobile phones and SMS, according to the statement. This, according to the report, might assist the mobilisation of mobs capable of causing serious loss of life and damage to public and private property through arson, vandalism, and other violent acts. 

It further stated that "all telecom service providers in Haryana are thus required to ensure compliance with the order." Prohibitory orders were issued in Karnal earlier on Monday, prohibiting gatherings of five or more individuals. The district administration issued orders under section 144 of the CrPC and a traffic advisory with planned route diversions, officials said.

The Saiyuki Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmers'' outfits protesting against the farm laws, had threatened to lay siege to the Karnal mini-secretariat on September 7 if its demands were not met.
Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni on Monday said a mahapanchayat will be held in Karnal on Tuesday, after which farmers will proceed to gherao the mini-secretariat. "Farmers will be gathering in Karnal's New Anaj Mandi on Tuesday morning," he said, adding their demands have not been met and they will go ahead with their protest.

On August 28, Haryana Police lathi-charged a group of farmers who were delaying traffic on a major highway near here on their way to Karnal to protest a BJP gathering. A total of ten demonstrators were hurt. The SKM has suggested that IAS official Ayush Sinha, who was recorded on tape reportedly instructing police officers to "crush heads" of protesting farmers, be charged with murder. 

Mr Sinha, who was later shifted in a reshuffle that also involved several other IAS officers, has now been assigned to the Citizen Resources Information Department as an additional secretary.