The internet shutdown in Manipur was the world’s longest cyber blackout in 2023, a report by Top10VPN showed.

The internet shutdown in Manipur totalled more than 5,000 hours during the year, the report, released on January 2, by the independent virtual private network review platform said.

Thirty major internet shutdowns, totalling 7,812 hours, were imposed in India in 2023.

Mobile internet was suspended in Manipur after ethnic clashes broke out between the Meitei and Kuki communities in early May. Over 200 persons have been killed since the conflict broke out and nearly 60,000 have been forced to flee their homes.

The local authorities in Manipur had imposed the internet ban from May to December.

“As in previous years, these internet outages were highly localised to specific districts, cities and even villages, and tended to be in response to civil unrest, often preemptively,” the report noted.

On December 1, the Manipur High Court told the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state that the ban on mobile internet services cannot continue as it violated the right to free speech under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The report also said that social media shutdowns in India totalled 144 hours in 2023.

“Although social media shutdowns are much less common in India than elsewhere in the world, authorities in the state of Bihar blocked multiple social media platforms in April following clashes during a religious festival,” said Top10VPN.

The economic loss caused by the internet shutdown in India during 2023 was $585.4 million (Rs 4,858 crore), the report added.

The countries that bore the most economic loss due to internet shutdowns were Russia ($4.02 billion, or Rs 33,376.41 crore), Ethiopia ($1.59 billion, or Rs 13,201.13 crore) and Iran ($920.2 million, or Rs 7,640.90 crore).