Skip to main content

China justifies Modi's whopping 4,200 hrs internet shutdown: Economic loss $1.3 billion

By Rajiv Shah
India appears to be competing with terrorist-stricken north-central African nation, Chad, in the number of internet shutdowns. In 2019, says a recent report, released by the UK-based top10vpn.com, which provides services meant to protect online privacy, India experienced 4,196 hours of internet shutdown, next only to Chad, with 4,728 hours of internet shutdown.
In a review of top 21 countries which experienced internet shutdown last year, the report, titled “The Global Cost of Internet Shutdowns in 2019”, analyses major internet shutdowns across the world in 2019, even as revealing a growing trend of economic loss across. It says, globally the loss was to the tune of $8 billion as a result of internet shutdown.
Of the $8 million cost of internet shutdown across the globe, the report states, India suffered a loss of $1,329.8 million, next to Iraq, which experienced 263 hours of internet shutdown, but a whopping loss of $2,319.5 million, and Sudan, which saw 1,560 hours of internet shutdown, and $1,866.3 million loss.
Pointing out that internet shutdowns happened mainly in seven states, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh, report regrets, “India imposes internet restrictions more often than any other country.”
Noting that these internet shutdowns “tend to be highly-targeted, even down to the level of blacking out individual city districts for a few hours while security forces try to restore order”, the report believes, “The full economic impact is therefore likely to be higher even than our $1.3 billion figure.”
According to the report, “The most significant disruptions have been in the turbulent Kashmir region, where after intermittent shutdowns in the first half of the year, access has been blocked since August, with no end to restrictions in sight.”
Quoting “The Washington Post” as stating that the Kashmir shutdown “is the longest ever imposed in a democracy”, the report says, “Indian authorities have attempted to justify the digital blackout on national security grounds due to unrest in Kashmir following their controversial decision to strip India’s only Muslim-majority region of its autonomy.”
Referring to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, the report says, “Elsewhere violent reactions in December to another change to Indian law, which has been viewed as another bid to marginalize the country’s Muslim minority, prompted internet blackouts across many districts of Uttar Pradesh, along with the nearby regions of Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya.”
It continues, “The other major shutdown also had its root in religious tensions. A Supreme Court decision in November ruling on the dispute over the Ayodhya holy site that’s simmered between Hindus and Muslims for over a century prompted shutdowns ‘to avoid the spread of misinformation’ in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, and also in the Rajasthan region.” 

Support from China

Ironically, India’s massive internet shutdown has found support from China, a major world power without democratic rights. The English online edition of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee mouthpiece “People’s Daily”, referring to “shutdown of the internet in the states of Assam and Meghalaya to control protests over the controversial new Citizenship Amendment Bill”, insists, “It means that shutting down the internet in a state of emergency should be standard practice for sovereign countries.”
Interestingly, the commentary, titled “India's internet shutdown shows normal practice for sovereign countries”, does not mention of internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir, the longest ever not just in India but the world.
Pointing out that India is the world's “second-largest internet market with more than 650 million connected users”, with the states of “Assam and Meghalaya alone boasting 32 million netizens, the commentary says, “India did not hesitate to shut down the internet in these two states to cope when there is a significant threat to national security.” 
Internet shutdown in India has proved that the necessary regulation is a reasonable choice of sovereign countries based on national interests
The top daily compares it with what happened in China: “When China's Xinjiang region faced a similar national security threat a few years ago, the Chinese government responded with a similar strategy. However, it attracted sharp criticism from mainstream media in Europe and the US.”
It underlines, “The internet shutdown in India has once again proved that the necessary regulation of the internet is a reasonable choice of sovereign countries based on national interests, and a natural extension of national sovereignty in cyberspace.”
The daily believes, “India will not hesitate to shut down the internet if it is necessary to safeguard national security”, claiming, this common even in the US. “In the US, the birthplace of the internet, deleting content, shutting down accounts, and conducting extensive surveillance in response to national security concerns have become routine operations.”
The daily insists, “The internet cannot be independent of national sovereignty. It is a routine operation for governments all over the world to manage the internet based on national interests, including shutting down the internet in a state of emergency.”

Comments

TRENDING

Astonishingly sycophantic: Ex-Gujarat topcop on 2002 Godhra riots probe panel report

By Rajiv Shah  In a scathing critique of the 2002 communal riots inquiry commission report, released by the Gujarat government in December 2019 five years after it was submitted, the State’s former topcop RB Sreekumar has said that it “unequivocally” and “meticulously” takes care “to refrain from probing and taking cognizance of any deviant action of omission and commission by the State administration, particularly those operating in the criminal justice system, who facilitated extensive mass violence and enabled brigands to perpetrate anti-minority crimes.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Two of 12 top caste-based sexual violence cases from 'model' Gujarat: NGO report

By Rajiv Shah   The National Council of Women Leaders (NCWL), a civil rights group, has compiled what it has called “landmark cases of caste-based sexual violence” between 1985 and 2020 to mark the first anniversary of the notorious Hathras gangrape case, which led to the death of a young Dalit woman in September 2020.

Riddled with Brahmanical mindset, India's health care 'serving' corporate interests

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  In this second part of my conversation (click here for first part), Dr Manisha Bangar speaks about the health crisis in India how the government is trying to privatise things, and where our response during the Corona period was lacking. She also gives us an understanding of people opposing nutritious meals for children in the mid-day meal.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Ram ke naam? Upper caste Hindus 'created' the demand for temple in Ayodhya

By Sahil Mital*  Documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan brought an important issue to the forefront with ‘Ram ke Naam’ (In the Name of God). At a time when religious fundamentalism and fanaticism is on the rise, this movie brings to light the reality behind the thought process of people involved, both inside and outside such issues.

Hard times? Seeking to promote Urdu amidst 'efforts' to brand it as language of Muslims

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*  Those who believe that Urdu is a dying language, must come to the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL), spend some time here and see that Urdu, like any other language, is on a fast track. For the connoisseurs of Urdu, it is a heaven!

Power supply lines in Thar 'pushing' Great Indian Bustard to extinction: Researchers

By Rosamma Thomas*  Electricity supply lines pose a huge risk to birds and affect biodiversity, but there is little research about the numbers of birds dying of such collision in the tropical nations. In August 2021, academic journal Biological Conservation carried the results of a survey conducted in 2017-18 on 4,200 sq km of the Thar Desert in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan. This was the first comprehensive survey of this nature in the region.

Bahujan patriarchy? Savarna feminists 'over-state' gender rights in Dalit communities

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Dr Manisha Bangar is a practicing senior consultant gastroenterologist and transplant hepatologist, with around 20 years of clinica-cum-research and teaching experience. In terms of her medical qualification, she completed MBBS, MD and DM. She was a governing council member of the Indian National Association for Study of the Liver (INASL), and member of the Task Force for Hepatitis B and Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis (NASH) diseases of the South Asian Association for Study of the Liver (SAASL).

Vindictive raids? Centre 'retaliates' after Delhi govt child rights body's clean chit to ex-babu

By Our Representative  Over 700 academics, advocates, activists, civil servants, writers, film makers, journalists, musicians and artists have condemned the raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the offices and private home of top IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights and peace activist Harsh Mander, stating, the aim is nothing but to “harass and intimidate” him.