Skip to main content

Gujarat again suspends mobile internet, SMS following detention of protesting Patidar leader Harik Patel

Shivanand Jha
By Our Representative
In a second clampdown in less than a month’s time on the use of internet in Gujarat, the Gujarat government has banned the use of mobile internet and SMS services in Ahmedabad and Surat cities starting at 11.00 am. An order signed by Ahmedabad police commissioner Shivanand Jha said, the services will not be available till September 20 midnight. Landline broadband, however, has been allowed to function normally.
The state government decision follows detention of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener Hardik Patel along with his 35 followers, who began their “unity march” or Ekta Yatra, from Surat without police permission.
The police commissioner’s order says mobile service providers were being asked to discontinue “all 2G, 3G mobile internet services” as also “all SMS services”, and anyone found guilty of violating this order would be liable to action under relevant sections of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Earlier, mobile internet facility in Gujarat remained suspended for seven days starting on August 26 after Patel agitation turned violent following the arrest of Hardik Patel on August 25 after the five-lakh strong anti-government Patidar rally at Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) ground in Ahmedabad.
Earlier, the Gujarat High Court has rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking declaration of mobile internet ban a violation of the fundamental right of freedom of speech. A division bench headed by acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel upheld the state government’s decision banning internet services during the Patel agitation in August as “just and proper” and in “good faith” to maintain law and order.
In his new order, the police commissioner says, since it is not possible to send notice to ban internet and SMS services directly to mobile service providers, he is sending it to newspapers, Akashvani and Doordarshan, as also to different police stations, to be displayed prominently.
Justifying the order, the police commissioner says, the PAAS decided to go ahead with its rally in Surat on September 19 despite the fact that it was not granted permission. Necessary action is being taken against the Patidar leaders, he said.
“We have to ensure that no law and order problem takes shape of the type that took place after the August 25 Patidar rally, and anti-social elements do not take advantage of the social media for spreading rumours”, he said.
Meanwhile, Alpesh Thakore, leader of the OBC, SC, ST coordination committee, said he welcomed the decision of the government to stop the Patidar rally from being taken out. “We appreciate the government’s action against PAAS leaders whose Ekta Yatra and other programmes to arm-twist the government would have resulted into caste-conflict and widespread violence,” he said.
Thakore’s new ally, Adivasi Khedut Sangharsh Manch convener Romel Sutaria, also welcomed the police action saying it was “the right step to safeguard the Constitution”. He added, “We do not mind the Patels getting reservation but not at the expense of the quota for OBCs. The reservation for OBCs is for the uplift of the socially backward communities and not just economically poor.”

Comments

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

Lynching as state terror? Complete dearth of 'political will' to deal with mob violence

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On Friday July 5, thousands of people had gathered at a rally in Surat to protest against the growing mob lynching incidents in different parts of the country. There are different interpretations at what happened during the rally: with police blaming the rallyists and those in the rally blaming the police for using teargas shells upon them without any reason.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

One lakh schools closed down, draft policy 'seeks' commercialisation: Whither RTE?

By Our Representative
A national consultation on the new draft National Education Policy (NEP) with senior experts, teachers’ association representatives and other stakeholders at the India International Centre in New Delhi on July 11, organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, has expressed serious concern over curtailment in the budgeted expenditure on education year after year, even as closure of more than one lakh schools over the "last few years."

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

UN report notes 'suppression' of Kashmiri independence groups in Pakistan

By Our Representative
A top United Nations (UN) body has suggested that the intense fervour of Kashmiri nationalism isn’t just sweeping the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state but is equally strong in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), pointing towards how the Pak authorities have been seeking to suppress it by placing restrictions on rights to freedoms of expression and opinion, assembly and association on every section of PoK’s population.

Campaign 'victory': Bihar considers ban on asbestos, carcinogenic to humans

Counterview Desk
In a major victory for anti-asbestos campaigners, the Bihar government has said that it is considering an immediate ban on use of asbestos&based products of all kinds in the state. Speaking in the state assembly, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar insisted on the need to taking a strong policy decision against carcinogenic asbestos factories.
A communication, meanwhile, has been forwarded  to the health secretary by Kumar, referring to concerns of Dr Gopal Krishna, who heads the Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) "on hazardous asbestos factories to the health department." Krishna said that the health department should looking into the demand for the creation of a register of victims of asbestos related diseases.
He added, the government should also create a register asbestos laden buildings and products in general and a probe on the health status of workers, their families and communities linked to and in proximity of the two units of asbestos factories…

Satellite data 'identify' Gujarat's Mundra among 6 of India's top air pollution hotspots

By Rajiv Shah
A fresh study, which analyzes data between February 2018 and May 2019, obtained from Tropomi, a satellite instrument on board the Dutch Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, has warned that coal-fired power plants and industrial clusters are India’s “worst nitrogen oxides (NOx) hotspots” contributing hugely to air pollution in Sonbhadra-Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Korba in Chhattisgarh, Talcher in Odisha, Chandrapur in Maharashtra, Mundra in Gujarat and Durgapur in West Bengal.