NEW DELHI (HRNW) – Indian mobile operators are losing around 24.5 million rupees ($350,000) in revenue every hour they are forced to suspend internet services on government orders to control protests against a new citizenship law, a top lobby group said on Friday. According to Reuters Countrywide protests have raged for three weeks after India’s parliament passed legislation which gives minorities from neighboring Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh a path to citizenship but excludes Muslims.
That, coupled with a plan for a national register of citizens, are seen by critics as anti-Muslim moves by the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
To quell protests, government has deployed thousands of police as well intermittently ordered mobile data shutdowns at a time people have used social media such as Instagram and TikTok to wage a parallel battle online. Such internet suspensions have been criticized by internet freedom activists.
On Friday, mobile internet was ordered shut in at least 18 districts in northern Uttar Pradesh state, a telecoms industry source told Reuters.
A Reuters witness received a text message from an internet service provider announcing that home broadband services on the outskirts of capital New Delhi will be unavailable for 24 hours, till the morning of Dec 28.