August 26, 2023
In response to the steadfast determination of right-wing Hindutva outfits to carry out a religious procession on August 28, the authorities in Haryana’s Nuh have taken the precautionary step of suspending mobile internet and bulk SMS services for a period of two days. The decision, attributed to concerns about maintaining law and order, comes after the district administration denied permission for the Brij Mandal Jal Abhishek Yatra, citing potential security issues.
The State Home Department, in a bid to curb the spread of misinformation and rumors via various social media platforms, announced the suspension of mobile internet services, bulk SMS (except for banking and mobile recharge), and all dongle services in the Nuh district. The fear is that these communication tools could be misused to incite mobs, leading to potential violence and damage to public and private properties.
However, the order makes it clear that certain essential services such as individual SMS, mobile recharge, banking SMS, voice calls, and broadband and lease line internet services for both corporate and domestic use will remain unaffected. The administration has emphasized that this decision is aimed at safeguarding public convenience while ensuring that commercial and financial interests of the state are not compromised.
Suspension to remain till 28 August
The suspension order is slated to come into effect from 12 pm today and will remain in force until August 28. The move follows the disruption of a previous procession on July 31, which led to stone pelting and communal clashes resulting in six fatalities and 88 injuries. Despite these violent clashes, members of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal have expressed their unwavering commitment to resuming the procession this time around.
Surendra Jain, joint general secretary of VHP, reiterated their intention to carry out the yatra as planned, asserting that it is their right to do so. He called upon the administration and the police to ensure the security and safety of the procession participants. While expressing willingness to control the number of devotees if necessary, Jain emphasised that the yatra would proceed as scheduled.
As the Nuh district braces for this religious procession and the potential challenges it may bring, the suspension of mobile internet and bulk SMS services reflects the authorities’ efforts to prevent any escalation of violence and maintain public order.