The Manipur High Court has directed the state government to provide limited internet services to citizens at designated places, Live Law reported on Tuesday.

A bench comprising Justices Ahanthem Bimol Singh and A Guneshwar Sharma passed the order on June 16 in response to a batch of petitions seeking the restoration of internet services in the state.

However, the state government on Tuesday extended the suspension of internet services till June 25, with exemptions only for those who had been specifically been exempted by the authorities, ANI reported.

The internet was first suspended in the North Eastern state on May 3 when violence broke out after thousands participated in a protest march organised by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur to oppose the demand of the Meitei community to be included in the Scheduled Tribe category.

Ethnic clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities since then have left more than 100 persons dead, over 300 injured and thousands displaced.

The High Court, in its order, said that citizens needed the internet in order to carry out “their urgent and essential services”, and noted that they were facing hardship in connection with students’ admissions. “The State authorities are directed to provide limited internet service to the public in some designated places under the [control] of the State authorities,” the court said.

The bench also directed telecom service providers Vodafone, Idea, Jio, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and Airtel to state whether it would be feasible to provide internet services while blocking social media websites.

The case will be heard next on June 23.

HC issues notices on ST status for Meiteis

On Monday, the High Court admitted a review petition seeking to modify its order from March 27 directing the state government to consider petitions of the Meitei community to be included in the Scheduled Tribe category, The Hindu reported.

The court issued notices to the Centre and state government, seeking their responses by July 5.

The review petition has been filed by the Meitei Tribes Union, which has contended that the inclusion or exclusion of any community in the Scheduled Tribes list is the prerogative of the Parliament and the President.

The All Manipur Tribal Union has also filed an appeal before a division bench of the High Court against the order passed on March 27. The appeal will be heard on June 22.

SC declines urgent listing of plea seeking directions to protect tribals

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court refused to urgent list an application filed by the Manipur Tribal Forum seeking directions to protect tribal communities, Live Law reported.

A vacation bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and MM Sundresh refused to hear the petition on June 21 or June 22, and listed it after the court vacation on July 3.

“This is purely a law and order situation...Court is not required to pass orders for army intervention,” Justice Kant said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Manipur government, asserted that security agencies are trying their best to stem the violence and restore normalcy, PTI reported.

The forum has demanded that the Indian Army take full control of law and order in the districts of Churachandpur, Chandel, Kangpokpi, Imphal East and Imphal West. It also called for a special investigation team to prosecute those responsible for attacks on tribal communities in Manipur.