This Article is From Dec 19, 2019

Restore Mobile Internet Service By 5 PM: High Court To Assam Government

The court's directive came amid nationwide protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act on Thursday.

Restore Mobile Internet Service By 5 PM: High Court To Assam Government

Violence has ebbed in Guwahati although protests against the Citizenship Act continue.


The Gauhati High Court today directed the Assam government to restore mobile Internet services across the state by 5 pm on Thursday, a day when many places across the country witnessed protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

A division bench of Justices Manojit Bhuyan and Saumitra Saikia issued the directive after hearing four public interest litigations filed by journalist Ajit Kumar Bhuyan and advocates Bonoshri Gogoi, Randeep Sharma and Debakanta Doley.

Mobile and broadband internet services in the state were suspended on December 11, following violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Broadband services have already been restored in Assam.

The division bench said in its directive that while mobile Internet services should be restored, the state government was free to take steps towards curbing dissemination of "explosive messages and videos" on social media platforms that may incite further violence.

While senior advocates Arup Borbora, KK Mahanta, UK Nair and Bimal Chetry appeared for the petitioners, the state and central governments were represented by specially engaged counsel Debajit Sah and assistant solicitor general SC Keyal respectively.

Violence had broken out in several parts of the Northeast with Guwahati as its epicentre even as the law, which aims to expedite citizenship for non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, was being passed by the Rajya Sabha on December 11. Five were subsequently killed in police firing, even as the government imposed restrictions in the city.

Protesters in the Northeast believe that the Citizenship Amendment Act will throw the floodgates open to migrants from neighbouring countries, undermining the Assam Accord of 1985 and reducing them to a minority in their own land. 

The "day curfew" imposed on Guwahati was relaxed from Monday, allowing it to slowly limp back to normalcy. Residents, however, continue to take out peaceful protests.  

(With inputs from PTI)