India Witnessed Over 400 Internet Shutdowns In Last Four Years: Report
India also reported the longest internet shutdown of 223 days after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019.
India shut down internet access over 400 times in the last four years. India also reported some of the longest internet shutdowns in the same period. The longest was 223 days after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
One month down in 2021, and the internet has been snapped at least seven times, five of which were in Haryana and areas along the borders of the national capital, according to Internet Shutdowns.
Maximum instances of internet shutdown were registered in Jhajjar, Sonipat and Palwal districts in Haryana.
The suspension of the internet at the protest sites, where the farmers are protesting against the three central farm laws has drawn international attention. Recently pop star Rihanna in a tweet tagging a CNN report on internet shutdown ask "Why aren't we talking about this?"
India tops the list in the world in the number of internet shutdowns imposed by the local, state and national government.
India shut internet more frequently than any other democracy in the world, said a report by Forbes. Within India, Jammu and Kashmir faced the maximum internet outage followed by Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana, and Maharashtra.
On January 2020, the Supreme Court declared access to the internet a fundamental right. A government cannot deprive the citizens of fundamental rights except under certain conditions explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. The ruling came while the court was hearing a plea in connection with Internet blockade in Jammu and Kashmir.
Recently, even the US state department in the backdrop of farmers' protest said that it considers unhindered access to information, including the internet, fundamental to the freedom of expression and a hallmark of a thriving democracy, India Today reported.
India has laws that allow The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to temporarily suspend the telecom services, including the internet of that area under "Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) rules, 2017".
An internet shutdown also hurts the economy. Reportedly, India shut down the internet for 8,927 hours in 2020 that cost India $2.7 billion. Considering the per dollar rate of Rs 73.3, it means that the cost of internet lockdown in India is more than ₹2 crore every hour.