Haryana’s government on Monday ordered the suspension of mobile internet services in Karnal district to “stop the spread of misinformation and rumours,” a day ahead of farmers. mahapanchayat and planned mini secretariat gherao on the lathicharge of 28 august.
According to an order from the Ministry of Interior, mobile internet services in Karnal district will remain suspended from 12:30 pm to midnight Tuesday from Monday to Tuesday.
The order, issued “to prevent any disturbance to the peace and public order in the jurisdiction of Karnal district, said mobile internet services (2G/3G/4G/CDMA/GPRS), SMS services, including bulk SMS (excluding banking and mobile recharge) and all dongle services, etc. provided on mobile networks, except voice calls, will remain suspended.
“While on September 6 I have been informed by ADGP (CID), Haryana… and District Magistrate, Karnal, that there is a chance of intensification of the protest which could have adverse effects on public safety and the law and order in Karnal district in the wake of the appeal for Kisan Mahapanchayat on 7 September.
And whereas there is a clear potential for disruption to public facilities and security, damage to public property and facilities and public order in Karnal district due to the misuse of internet services through the dissemination of inflammatory material and false rumours, which are/ can be sent/distributed to the public via social media/messaging services on mobile internet services, SMS services and other dongle services,” the order said.
It said the suspension of mobile internet services was ordered to stop the spread of misinformation and rumors through social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter on mobile phones and SMS. It said this would facilitate the mobilization of gangs that could cause serious loss of life and damage to public and private property by engaging in arson, vandalism or other violent activities.
All of Haryana’s telecom service providers are hereby instructed to ensure compliance with the order, it added.
Earlier on Monday, a ban was imposed in Karnal to prohibit the gathering of five or more people.
The district administration has issued orders under section 144 of the CrPC and a traffic advisory with planned diversions, officials said.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmers’ organizations protesting the agricultural laws, had threatened on September 7 to besiege the Karnal mini-secretariat if its demands were not met.
Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) head Gurnam Singh Chaduni said Monday that a mahapanchayat will be held in Karnal on Tuesday, after which the farmers will proceed to the mini secretariat.
“Farmers will gather in Karnal’s New Anaj Mandi on Tuesday morning,” he said, adding that their demands have not been met and they are continuing their protest.
Haryana police had lathicharged a group of farmers disrupting traffic on a nearby national highway on Aug. 28 as they headed to Karnal to protest a BJP rally. More than 10 protesters were injured.
The SKM had said a murder case should be registered against IAS officer Ayush Sinha, who was caught on tape allegedly telling police officers to “smash heads” of protesting farmers.
Mr Sinha, who was later transferred in a redeployment that also involved some other IAS officers, has now been appointed as the additional secretary of the Civil Resources Department.