A countrywide protest against censorship on the Internet saw youngsters join hands at Jantar Mantar in the national capital. Wearing 'Guy Fawkes' masks, synonymous with global protests where protesters prefer to keep their identity concealed, the protesters raised slogans to create more awareness on the new amendments to the IT Act.
The call for demonstrations was given by the Indian arm of international hackers' group 'Anonymous', after a March 29 court order in Chennai demanding 15 Indian Internet providers to block access to file-sharing websites such as Pirate Bay.
The protest was spearheaded by 'Save Your Voice' and planned at various historic monuments in 16 cities, including at the Jantar Mantar.
Holding banners, the members of the group raised slogans like, "Raise your voice, save your voice."
The order has resulted in access being denied to a host of websites that carry pirated films and music among other legal content, including www.isohunt.com and www.pastebin.com.
On Wednesday, the Anonymous forum fired an opening shot by attacking the website of state-run telecom provider MTNL, pasting the logo of the group - the mask of 17th century revolutionary Guy Fawkes - on www.mtnl.net.in.
In an open letter the same day, the group accused the government of trying to create a "Great Indian Firewall" to establish control on the Web and issuing a "declaration of war from yourself... to us."
Concerns about Internet freedom in India go beyond the court order in Chennai, however, and stem from an update to India's Information Technology Act that was given by the IT and communications ministry in April last year.
The new rules regulating Internet companies - providers, websites and search engines - instruct them that they must remove "disparaging" or "blasphemous" content within 36 hours if they receive a complaint by an "affected person".
Groups such as the Centre for Internet and Society, a Bangalore-based research and advocacy group, have waged a year-long campaign for amendments to the rules, which were quietly released in April.
Industry groups have also objected, saying they are unclear on the changes which are in any case impossible to implement when it comes to acting on individual complaints about specific content.
"A lot of education is required in this field," secretary of the Internet Service Providers Association of India SP Jairath told AFP.
The government has also become embroiled in a row with social networks after Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal held a series of meetings with IT giants Google, Yahoo! and Facebook last year to discuss the pre-screening of content.
The minister was said to have shown Internet executives examples of obscene images found online that risked offending Muslims or defamed politicians.
Since these meetings, 19 Internet firms including Google, Yahoo! and Facebook have been targeted in criminal and civil cases lodged in lower courts, holding them responsible for content posted by users of their platforms.
Anonymous is a secretive "hacker-activist" network and is thought to be a loosely knit collective with no clearly defined leadership structure.
It has claimed dozens of online attacks on sites ranging from the Vatican to Los Angeles Police Canine Association, but is increasingly the target of law enforcement agencies who have arrested dozens of members.