Weeklong ban on mobile internet in Ahmedabad and Surat lifted

Ahmedabad, Sep 2 - The week-long ban on mobile internet services in Ahmedabad and Surat was finally lifted last night.

It was suspended along with other cities of Gujarat since August 25 when statewide violence erupted following the brief detention of the leaders of the Patadar Anamat Aandolan Samiti (PAAS), the outfit demanding reservation for political strong Patel or Patidar community in the state.

A late night order issued in this regard by Ahmedabad Police Commissioner Shivanand Jha said the ban was lifted with effect from 2300 hrs on September 1 instead of the earlier order to continue it till September 2.

The earlier order said the step was initiated to foil the attempt of rumour-mongering by anti-social elements on the internet. It also banned the bulk SMS and MMS services in the city. A similar order was also issued by the Surat Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana for restoration of the services.

The social media is also accessible in the two cities. However, the police said that it would keep a close watch on the social media and take a strong action against those found involved in using the platform to spread rumours or such things which might disturb the peace.

Noted RTI activist Roshan Shah, who had vehemently opposed the ban terming it an attempt to hide the acts of police atrocities during the protests, alleged that in the name of monitoring the social media the police was trying to put another ban of sorts from the backdoor.

The RBI has claimed that the banks in the state have incurred a loss of around 7000 crore owing to the ban that was lifted from other parts of the state two days ago.

Some prominent RTI activists have also questioned the rationale behind the ban. Leading industry body FICCI has claimed that the business in the state has suffered 10 to 15 percent loss owing to the move. At least 10 people died and over 200 vehicles and several government offices, including police posts were burnt down during the violent protests which prompted the imposition of curfews and deployment of the army.

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