Internet services will be suspended in seven districts of Bengal for seven days between March 7 and March 16 as a preventive measure to avoid unlawful activities, the state announced on Thursday. The districts in which the internet will be suspended are Malda, Murshidabad, Uttar Dinajpur, Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri, Birbhum, and Darjeeling.
In a statement, the additional chief secretary (Home and Hill Affairs) said, “The restriction will be imposed in a few blocks under the districts of Malda, Murshidabad, Uttar Dinajpur, Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri, Birbhum and Darjeeling on March 7 to 9, March 11 and 12 and on March 15 and 16 from 11:00 am to 3:15 pm.”
Internet services will not be suspended on March 10, when counting for Assembly elections in UP, Goa, Manipur, Punjab and Uttarakhand will take place.
The decision has been taken to prevent mass cheating in the upcoming state board exams.
“The government has received intelligence reports that unlawful activities can be carried in certain areas over internet transmissions and voice over internet telephony and hence restrictions are being imposed on the use of the internet,” the state said.
“Any data-related message, or class of messages, to or from any person or class of persons relating to any particular subject brought for transmission by or transmitted or received by any telegraph within the ambit of the India Telegraph Act, 1885, shall temporarily not be transmitted in the interest of maintaining public order and preventing incitement to the commission of any offence within the jurisdiction of the Block/Police Stations listed in the Annexure and duly authenticated by me,” the statement said.
No restrictions have been imposed on voice calls or the sending of SMS.