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48 hour mobile internet ban in Tripura as North East boils over Citizenship Amendment bill


New Delhi, Dec 10: The Tripura government on Thursday imposed a ban on mobile internet and SMS services in the state for 48 hours, in wake of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha.

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"It has been reported by Director General of Police, Tripura that rumours are being mongered about ethnic clashes between tribal and non-tribal in Manu and Kanchanpur areas. This has created a violent situation in the area. It has been noticed that SMS, WhatsApp and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are being used for transmission of fake images and videos as well as text messages which have potential to incite violence in the State at a larger rate," Tripura government said in a letter.

Following the development, the state government said that it is prohibiting use of SMS and mobile data for 48 hours, beginning 2 pm on Tuesday. This shall be applicable for press messages also, the letter read.

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Security was beefed up in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura. Nagaland has been exempted from the purview of the bandh in view of the ongoing Hornbill Festival there.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced religious persecution there. They will be given Indian citizenship after residing in the country for five years, instead of 11 years which is the current norm.

Indigenous people of the Northeastern states are scared that the entry of these people will endanger their identity and livelihood. Various organisations of the region have launched a series of agitations against the Bill.

Parties and organisations such as the Congress, AIUDF, All Assam Students Union, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union, Khasi Students Union and the Naga Students Federation are backing the NESO to observe the bandh.

A total of 16 left-leaning organisations such as the SFI, DYFI, AIDWA, AISF, AISA and the IPTA has also called a 12-hour bandh in Assam, coinciding with the NESO-organised shutdown.

The Bill would not be applicable to Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram where the ILP system exists and those tribal regions of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura which are governed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

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