The Tripura government on Thursday banned mobile internet and SMS services in the state for 48 hours, citing a threat to public safety. The Bharatiya Janata Party government said it took the decision in the wake of rumours about the presence of kidnappers “creating panic” in the state.
A mob on Thursday lynched a man on the suspicion that he was a child lifter, News18 reported. Two people are in a critical condition following the attack.
“Messaging systems like SMS, WhatsApp and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are likely to be used for the transmission of fake information like pictures, images, videos and text, which have the potential to incite violence in the state at a larger rate,” Tripura’s Additional Chief Secretary (Home Department) Saradindu Chaudhury said in a notification on Thursday. The ban on the internet and SMS services began at 2 pm.
Chaudhury said the ban would be applicable to messages sent by media personnel too.
Over the past month several incidents of mob violence following rumours on social media have been reported across the country, leading to assaults and murders. On June 2, a man was lynched in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district. On June 8, two men were pulled out of their car and lynched by a mob in Assam. On June 14, a similar murder was reported in West Bengal’s Malda district. On June 22, a similar rumour led to a lynching in Chhattisgarh’s Sarguja district. On June 26, a mob beat to death a 40-year-old woman in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad on the suspicion that she was a kidnapper.