Mobile net remains suspended in 21 UP districts
LUCKNOW: A sudden mobile internet shutdown on Friday in 21 Uttar Pradesh districts, including the state capital Lucknow and in Ghaziabad on the outskirts of New Delhi, threw users into a tizzy by ahead of the New Year by disrupting communications.
IN a precautionary measure, the state government put the districts offline to avoid users posting inflammatory messages on social media or to mobilize protestors so that a repeat of the violence that erupted after Friday prayers on Decembers would not recur.
Additional chief secretary (home) Awanish Awasthi said the mobile internet and short messaging services had been suspended for a day. They were expected to be resumed at midnight on Friday.
Internet services were resumed in Lucknow only on December 25 evening after a six-day shutdown. In many other district, the shutdown lasted longer.
“We did not expect the internet shutdown on Friday as the situation was peaceful across the state and there was no prior information,” said Vineet Kumar Singh, a financial consultant. “We have faced a great loss since the net was off for six days in Lucknow and since services were restored on Wednesday evening, it (shutdown) was not expected today.”
App-based services took a hit. “It’s not just app-based aggregators and food services that are affected, but banking and several others sectors also face the music,” said rights activist Nitesh Ravi.
Many people came to know of the Internet shutdown through TV news channels; many kept calling friends to confirm the news and at 12 midnight on Thursday, the services were suspended. Because Friday was peaceful in Uttar Pradesh, services were restored in some districts, including Lucknow, before the scheduled time (12 midnight), said an official.
The 21 districts that went without Internet and SMS on Friday were Lucknow, Shamli, Sambhal, Kanpur, Agra, Mathura, Hapur, Firozabad, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Rampur, Bareilly, Moradabad, Amroha, Azamgarh, Aligarh, Muzaffarnagar and Sitapur..