Friday, June 21, 2024

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    Internet Ban Lifted in Manipur as Chief Minister N. Biren Singh Announces Easing of Restrictions

    Move Follows Months of Ethnic Clashes and Government Appeal to Surrender Illegal Weapons

    In a significant development, Manipur’s Chief Minister, N. Biren Singh, has declared the lifting of the internet ban in the state, effective immediately. The government had enforced restrictions on internet services in select districts of the strife-torn region in response to ethnic clashes that initially erupted on May 3. Subsequently, the government had partially lifted the ban, permitting broadband services under specific conditions.

    Addressing a press conference in Imphal, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh explained the rationale behind the internet ban, stating, “As a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of rumors and the dissemination of videos, photos, and messages that could potentially disrupt the law and order situation in the state, the government had imposed the internet ban. However, starting today, the ban on internet services will be lifted.”

    This announcement comes on the heels of the government’s recent appeal for the surrender of all illegal weapons held by individuals or groups throughout the state, within a 15-day period commencing on September 22.

    In a press release issued on a preceding evening, the government expressed its willingness to take a lenient approach towards individuals submitting such illegal weapons during this stipulated timeframe. The release emphasized, “At the conclusion of the 15 days, both central and state security forces will conduct a rigorous and comprehensive search operation across the state to recover any remaining weapons. Individuals associated with illegal weapons will face strict legal consequences.”

    The release further highlighted the gravity of the situation, citing reports of extortion, threats, and abductions perpetrated by individuals or groups wielding illegal weapons. The state government underscored its commitment to taking robust action against these wrongdoers, regardless of their location within the state.

    The ethnic conflict that has plagued Manipur has exacted a heavy toll, with a reported death toll of 175 individuals to date and over 1,100 others sustaining injuries. Additionally, thousands have been displaced from their homes. The crisis has witnessed 5,172 reported cases of arson, including the burning and desecration of 4,786 residences and 386 religious sites. Furthermore, a total of 5,668 arms have been reported as lost across the state, with security forces successfully recovering 1,329 of these arms thus far.

    As Manipur embarks on the journey towards reconciliation and stability, the removal of internet restrictions represents a pivotal step toward restoring normalcy and fostering open communication within the state. Additionally, the government’s call for the surrender of illegal weapons underscores its commitment to dismantling the infrastructure of violence and ensuring the safety and security of its citizens.

    The coming days will be critical as the state collectively works to heal wounds, address grievances, and chart a path toward lasting peace and prosperity. The lifting of the internet ban is a positive sign of progress on this journey.

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