Locals unhappy as internet services are shut down in Garo Hills once again

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Front Page

Staff Reporter
TURA, June 13: Despite there being no reports of any wrong doing in the entire Garo Hills region, internet services in Garo Hills were shut down once again after an order passed by the additional chief secretary, MS Rao on Wednesday afternoon.
The suspension of services came even as the NGOs agitating for the removal of the non tribal MDC, Sofiur Rehman from the position of the chairman, forest advisory board of the GHADC, extended their deadline by another week.

The NGOs had last week surrounded the office of the GHADC on their demand for the removal of Rehman from the chairmanship. They however stated that their demand was only for his removal from the post he held and not to his being an MDC, in the absence of any law preventing him being a member of the Council.
The groups agitating for the removal of Rehman include GSU, ADE, FKJGP and AYWO. Last Friday, they had met the Chief Executive Member (CEM), Dipul Marak and demanded the removal of the MDC from the post, cancellation of TNT license given to the proprietor of GLR pharmaceuticals and removal of Boldamgre Nokma for allegedly selling tribal land to outsiders.
There was apprehension of the situation becoming tense once again on Wednesday morning after a large group of people were seen outside the GHADC offices even before the arrival of the NGOs. The NGO leaders later turned up to meet and submit their memo on extension of the deadline – which was supposed to originally be a week.
SMS and internet services were restored only last evening after 96 hours of being revoked before being stopped again on Wednesday. The order came into effect at 3 pm today and will last another 24 hours at least before another review. The shutdown will include all 5 districts of Garo Hills.
Speaking on the shutdown, the administration as well as the police stated that the order had come through the home ministry which could provide a clarification on the matter. They however felt it may be the increasing cases of rumour mongering that could quickly change the situation that could be behind the shutdown.
They however did not feel it was due to the GHADC – NGO meet on Wednesday.
“The order has come from the ministry and they could provide the best explanation for the reason for the ban,” felt superintendent of police, WGH, Dr MGR Kumar.
The order however has not gone down well with residents with most asking as to why residents were being punished when the entire state infrastructure should be going after rumour mongers and sponsors of fake news.
“This is extremely sad that we are paying the price. We are being punished for no fault of ours and this is not making any sense. What is my fault in this,” asked a resident of Tura.


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