Farmers Protest
Farmers Protest (Source: PTI)

The Haryana government has once again extended the suspension of mobile internet services in seven districts till February 23, in a bid to curb the spread of misinformation and prevent the mobilization of protestors amid ongoing farmers’ demonstrations.

The affected districts include Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad, and Sirsa. This decision, as stated by the Department of Home Affairs, aims to prevent violence and damage to public and private properties by restricting social media communication via mobile phones and SMS, excluding voice calls.

The suspension extension comes amidst the farmers’ renewed march towards Delhi, demanding the legal recognition of Minimum Support Price (MSP) and the implementation of the Swaminathan Committee’s recommendations on the pricing mechanism.

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These demands have been central to the farmers’ protests that have seen various phases of escalation over the past weeks.

The internet shutdown initially announced for three days, has been extended multiple times, reflecting the administration’s cautious approach to managing the protests’ potential to escalate into violence. However, this measure has led to widespread discontent among the youth and professionals in the affected regions, impacting daily life and the local economy significantly.

The shutdown has not only disrupted communication but also severely affected the industrial output in the region. Reports indicate that production in approximately 13,000 factories across the affected districts has dropped by nearly 70%, leading to an estimated loss of ₹2500 crores.

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This economic hit extends beyond manufacturing to the loading, unloading, billing, and supply chain operations, further complicating future orders and deliveries.

Legal professionals and citizens alike have voiced their concerns, highlighting the disruptions caused by the internet ban in both professional and personal spheres.

Despite the government’s intention to maintain public safety and order, the extended internet shutdown raises questions about its impact on the economy and the fundamental rights of the citizens.

As the situation develops, the farmers’ protest and the government’s response continue to be a focal point of national interest, underscoring the complex dynamics between governance, public safety, and the right to protest.

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