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Assam Gets Internet Back After 10 Days, CM Says Citizenship Act Poses No Threat to Land or Language

File photo of Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal.

File photo of Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal.

The state government had said that mobile internet services in the state would be restored from Friday though the Gauhati High Court had ordered restoration of the service by 5 pm on Thursday.

Guwahati: Mobile internet service resumed in Assam on Friday morning on the tenth day after it was banned during protests against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Though the Gauhati High Court had ordered its restoration by 5 pm on Thursday, the state government had not issued any instruction to the mobile operators to implement the court directive.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has said Assam will remain for everyone and that the new law does not pose any threat to “land or language”. "Assam will remain for Assamese. When entire list is established after the tenure of the application is over, you will know that only a minimum number of people will get Citizenship," he said.

"We did not receive any further communication from the government to continue with the ban, so we resumed the service for our customers," a senior official of private operator Airtel told PTI.

Other operators like state-owned BSNL, Reliance Jio and Vodafone too have resumed their services.

Mobile and broadband internet services were suspended on the evening of December 11, following incidents of violence during protests against the amended Citizenship Act.

Broadband services have already resumed in the state from December 17.

Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said on Thursday evening that mobile internet service would resume from Friday.

Earlier during the day, the Gauhati High Court had directed the Assam government to restore mobile internet service by 5 pm on Thursday.

A division bench of Justices Manojit Bhuyan and Saumitra Saikia gave the direction after hearing four PILs filed by journalist Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, and advocates Bonoshri Gogoi, Randeep Sharma and Debakanta Doley.

With resumption of mobile internet, hundreds of WhatsApp messages and social media notifications clogged the cell phones of users.

"With messages flooding my phone, it hanged several times. I had to restart it many times," an avid user of social media platforms on mobile phone said.

Assam witnessed one of the worst violent protests in its history with three rail stations, post office, bank, bus terminus, shops, dozens of vehicles and many other public properties being set ablaze or totally damaged.

Already five persons lost their lives in the violence that broke out in the state last week.

After the Rajya Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill last week, the state erupted in uncontrolled protests, in which agitators engaged in pitch battle in almost every major city or town, forcing the administration to impose curfew.

Several towns and cities were placed under indefinite curfew, including Guwahati, the epicentre of protests, besides Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Dhekiajuli.

Night curfew was imposed in Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia and Charaideo districts.

With the situation returning to normalcy, curfew has been lifted from several cities and relaxed in the rest.

(With PTI inputs)