India topped 5th in row in internet shutdowns

india top in internet shutdowns
Image source: Deutsche Welle

India topped the world for the 5th time in a row in internet shutdowns in 2022. These were the findings of a report released on Tuesday by digital rights watchdog Access Now and the #KeepItOn coalition.

There were at least 84 disruptions. The states in which internet access disrupted are Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Haryana and Jharkhand. J&K faced 49 times disruptions including 16 consecutive orders for three-day shutdowns with curfews in January and February.

According to the study, Rajasthan faced 12 shutdowns, while West Bengal faced seven both governed by political parties opposed to Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and four each in Haryana & Jharkhand.

People’s right to engage in online trade and business is violated when the internet is shut off. It’s not only about speech; it’s also economic in nature.

Due to political unrest and violence, authorities cut off internet connectivity in Kashmir at least 49 times, according to a watchdog report. This includes a string of 16 consecutive orders for three-day curfew-style shutdowns in January and February 2022. At high-profile events like protests, conflicts, school exams, and elections, the government “interfered with access.”

After the Centre scrapped Article 370 the government has since regularly imposed communications restrictions on the region due to security reasons, said the Reuters report. The other countries which saw internet shutdowns are India, Ukraine, Iran, Myanmar, Russia and Ethiopia.

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