Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said that mobile internet services will be restored across the state from Saturday, PTI reported.

The Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state had shut down both broadband and mobile internet services in the wake of ethnic violence between the Meiteis and the Kukis that broke out on May 3. Over 200 people have been killed in the state since the conflict broke out.

The government had said that it took the decision to prevent people from spreading disinformation and rumours on social media.

On July 25, the government had conditionally lifted ban on broadband internet services. It had allowed for internet to be provided through Internet Lease Lines, used typically by businesses, and Fibre to the Home connections, which are more expensive to install than traditional broadband ones.

However, the July order did not allow internet connections through WiFi hotspots. Social media websites and virtual private networks also remained blocked.

On Saturday, Singh told reporters that as the situation in Manipur had improved, the government had decided to restore mobile internet services.

The chief minister also said that the Free Movement Regime that allows people from India and Myanmar to travel up to 16 kilometers inside each other’s territory has been suspended. He added that the Manipur government has requested the Centre to permanently close the agreement.

The BJP government has alleged on a number of occasions that the violence in Manipur was due to the influx of Kukis from Myanmar following the military coup in 2021 in the Southeast Asian country.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had claimed in Parliament in August that the increase of Kukis from Myanmar into Manipur had led to anxieties among the majority Meitei community.

Surrender illegal weapons within 15 days: Manipur government

On Friday, the Manipur government told citizens to surrender illegal weapons within 15 days, after which comprehensive search operations will be carried out by central and state security forces.

Since the violence broke out in the state, there have been several reports of mobs attempting to loot state armouries. On several occasions, mobs have also clashed with central and state security forces while they tried to take away the weapons.

“The state government is willing to take a considerate view of the persons submitting such illegal weapons within these 15 days starting today,” the statement read. “At the end of the 15 days, the security forces, both of the Centre and the State, will undertake a strong and comprehensive search operation all over the State to recover such weapons, and all persons associated with any illegal weapons will be dealt with severely, as per the law.”

The government noted that several miscreants were using illegal weapons for extortion, threats and abduction. “This is a serious matter and state government will take strong actions against such groups in any part of the state,” it said.

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How two months of internet shutdown paralysed Manipur’s economy