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1 Feb 2021

Esha Mitra & Julia Hollingsworth, CNN

India: Police violence escalates against farmers protesting agricultural reforms, while govt. orders internet shutdown in Delhi

“India cuts internet around New Delhi as protesting farmers clash with police”, 01 February 2021

Internet access remained blocked Monday in several districts of a state bordering India's capital following violent weekend clashes between police and farmers protesting controversial agricultural reforms.

… That order was first imposed Tuesday in three Haryana districts for 24 hours, but has been extended every day since.

A 48-hour internet shutdown was also imposed in three other areas around Delhi's borders late on Friday, with India's Ministry of Home Affairs saying the move was "in the interest of maintaining public safety and averting public emergency."

According to officials, those blackouts should have lifted on Sunday night, but Paramjeet Singh Katyal, a spokesperson for Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body representing protesting farmers, said the internet was still not working as of Monday.

Although India is the world's most populous democracy, it also topped the world in terms of internet shutdowns in 2019, according to Access Now, an advocacy group which tracks internet freedom.

In 2019, the government imposed a months-long internet blackout in Indian-controlled Kashmir after India rewrote the constitution to remove Kashmir's protected autonomy.

That same year, authorities shut down internet in other areas, including in parts of New Delhi, amid widespread protests against a controversial citizenship law considered by many to be discriminatory against Muslims.