Tensions prevailed in Manipur a day after 30 students and two police personnel were injured following a confrontation between student protesters and police in Imphal on Saturday. The Manipur government, in an order, said that the incident has created a “tense communal situation” and “volatile law and order situation” in the state. The statement came after an Eco-Van was allegedly set on fire by a few youths at Phougakchao Ikhai Awang Leikai, according to reports.
Mobile data services have been suspended in the state for five days in view of the prevailing tensions. “Some anti-social elements are using social media extensively for transmission of images, hate speech and hate video messages inciting the passions of the public,” the order states.
“The social media has also become a handy tool for rumour mongers and is being used to incite general public which might have serious repercussions for the law and order situation in the State,” it adds.
Tensions broke out after over 100 tribal students converged at Kabo Leikai in Imphal West district at a protest to demand the release of All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) leaders who were arrested for imposing a total shutdown and economic blockade in the hill districts of Manipur.
The leaders had been demanding that the Hill Areas Committee (HAC)-recommended Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) Amendment Bill, 2021, be tabled in the Manipur Assembly.
“To thwart the design and activities of anti-national and anti-social elements and to maintain peace and communal harmony and to prevent any loss of life or danger to public/private property, it has become necessary to take adequate measures to maintain law and order in public interest, by stopping the spread of disinformation and false rumours, through various social media platform such as Whatsapp, Facebook etc. on mobile phone and SMS, for facilitating and/or mobilization of mobs of agitators and demonstrators, which can cause loss of life and/or damage to public/private property by indulging in arson/vandalism and other types of violent activities,” the order by the Manipur government adds.