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Mobile internet ban lifted in 4 Manipur district HQs unaffected by violence: Officials

Imphal: The Manipur government has lifted the mobile internet ban in four hill district headquarters which have not been affected by ethnic strife, officials said on Thursday.

The internet ban was withdrawn on a trial basis in the district headquarters of Ukhrul, Senapati, Chandel and Tamenglong, which are Naga-majority areas, they said.

The move comes after the Manipur High Court had directed the state government to operationalise mobile towers, on a trial basis, in all those district headquarters which have not been affected by the ethnic clashes.

The mobile internet services in the four hill district headquarters resumed on Tuesday, the officials said.

Asked about the resumption of mobile internet services, an official of the Ukhrul district administration said, ‘Only in district headquarters, a few selected mobile towers have been operationalised. But the connectivity is poor. The restoration will be done on a trial basis.’ At a recent function in Ukhrul, state Transport Minister Kashim Vashum had said the services would resume in the four districts.

Barring a few days in September, mobile internet has remained banned in Manipur since May 3 when ethnic clashes broke out.

Manipur has remained gripped by recurring bouts of violence since ethnic clashes first erupted in May. More than 180 people have been killed since then.

The clashes have occurred over a number of grievances that both sides have against the other, however, the flashpoint of the crisis has been a move to give Meiteis Scheduled Tribe status, which has since been rolled back and an attempt to turf out tribals living in protected forest areas.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mainly in the hill districts.

(Published 09 November 2023, 05:46 IST)

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