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Assam Internet ban

Assam: Internet ban makes students miss application deadlines

December 23, 2019

Roop Jyoti Sarma, a Gauhati University graduate, had to apply for a competitive examination but he missed the deadline because of internet shutdown in the city. Living in a small, rented accommodation in the Goneshguri area, the 24-year-old from the neighboring Barpeta district also has to depend on online tutorials to prepare for such exams.

“We, the students, suffered so much during the internet ban,” “I had to apply for an examination but I missed the deadline.” he said

Sarma was among a group of young protesters at AEI grounds on Thursday, where All Assam Students’ Union leaders and artistes denounced the internet ban imposed in Assam on Dec 11. The mobile internet services were restored Friday morning.

PILs had been filed in the Gauhati High Court, challenging the internet suspension. Authorities said it was done to check the spread of rumour and maintain law and order in the wake of violent protests over the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Many people faced difficulties in transferring money electronically due to the ban. Sarma said his parents had sent him money before the ban was imposed but not many of his friends were lucky. “My friends had to leave Guwahati and return to their hometowns as they almost ran out of cash and ATMs were also running dry,” he said.

Barman, however, joked the internet ban came as a relief for many parents as a large number of students are addicted to online games like PUBG and social media platforms like TikTok.

“The addiction level is so high. Many of these students took to offline gaming like Mini Militia and they were unable to cope with the absence of PUBG,” he said.

For Chinmoy Deka, the unavailability of the internet meant a “peaceful sleep”.

“I have participated in anti-CAA protests, but no internet meant we slept well as otherwise we mostly fiddle with our smartphones till late night,” he said.

Deka, a student of B Borooah College, said he and others spent time with friends talking and not “chatting”. “During regular days, we would just message ‘hi’, ‘how are you’ on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger but never really talked to each other. But these nine days, I tried to bond with friends and family members,” he said.However, he asserted, banning the internet for a long time was “not fair”, especially to people who earn their livelihood through online-based services, like cab drivers and food delivery staff.

Any youths had taken to traditional Assamese outdoor games, and cricket and football, or indoor games like ludo or carrom, he said. Ali Akbar, a hotel staffer in Guwahati, said he played cards and did workouts to beat boredom.

“Internet is back” was a common status of many users on social media platforms on Friday, after the internet services resumed across Assam after 10 days.From students to professionals, teenagers to adults, people heaved a sigh of relief, and many took to Facebook and Twitter to express their sentiments and opinions. Assam Police asked people to be cautious while posting “provocative” information.

“Mobile internet services have been restored in the state. We request citizens to be cautious while

Source: PTI

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