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The Conrad Sangma government has again banned internet data in our state. We all thought that normalcy had returned to Shillong until Saturday when internet was clamped down yet again. Internet is now part and parcel of every citizen’s life including the different departments of the government like MPSC where application for jobs is now done online. Internet has its merits and demerits. You can do wonderful stuff like online banking transactions, job application, research studies, read news, watch the FIFA world cup (by the way many villagers are watching this tournament on their cell phones due to the interrupted supply of electricity at night), sell assets (cars, house, land etc) through OLX but also sell lies through social media. However, the merits outweigh the demerits. Just because a few mischievous scoundrels sell lies and spread fake news through the internet it doesn’t necessarily mean the government should ban internet every time there are signs of social unrest. For example if someone lobs a petrol bomb at the Secretariat, the government need not cut the supply of petrol but instead should apprehend the culprit so that the crime is not repeated and this same logic should also apply to the internet fiasco in Shillong.
By banning the internet every time the Conrad Sangma Government automatically sends a wrong signal to the public and it will put the government in a bad spot. It also creates a fear psychosis in the state and also for people from outside the state who plan to visit Meghalaya. Tourists who are scheduled to stay for a week in Shnongpdeng decides to Assam the same day since they assume that something is not right and hence the government is banning internet. I was not aware about the internet ban until I reached the petrol pump to pay for the fuel using my debit card, then signals went up my brain that trouble is brewing somewhere in Shillong. So Mr CM you can imagine what kind of impression your Government is giving about the state and the country ever time you ban the internet. Few days ago we were laughing at Mukul Sangma when he demanded that this government should hand over the reins of power to him if they do not have ideas on how to govern. We thought, “Oh Mukul you’re such a power monger.” But by Saturday June16, those thoughts have changed and Mukul might be right after all Though I am not a fan of Mukul Sangma’s style of functioning but I have to agree that he always had an upper hand when it comes to dealing with anti-social elements. I don’t remember even once such banning of internet during his stint as Chief Minister though there were many instances of law and order problems during the ILP agitation, VAB protest, agitation against railways etc., during his tenure. I’m a big fan of Mr Conrad Sangma. He looks like a breath of fresh air and a very promising leader. However, unlike his predecessor he looks shaky when dealing with law and order problems. Mr Conrad should know that for anti-social elements must be dealt with an iron-fist and blocking the internet is not one of them. It is in fact a knee-jerk reaction. Therefore Mr Conrad Sangma please wake up and smell the coffee. Deal with the anti- social elements with a firm hand and not in a cowardly manner by banning the internet and putting many young professionals, students entrepreneurs and job seekers in a quandary.
Manuel Carey Lymba,
Alternative to internet shutdown
Today most of people use smart-phones, but a smart-phone without internet is like a car without gas. Already the internet ban has affected many and then another 48 hours makes it even worse. The Government should come up with strong laws to deal with social media and stop punishing the entire netizens.
The Government should know that one does not use the internet only to access Facebook or WhatsApp. Many people make a living with it. Internet ban has greatly impacted their income. Also, many people using internet are students who despite recharging internet with their pocket money, don’t get to avail it’s benefits. The Government should team up with Facebook, WhatApp and others and book the rumour mongers and get their IDs blocked. They should also zero in and deal strictly with those inciting violence through social media. They should find an alternative way of dealing with the situation rather than just imposing a ban on the internet.
For the service provider it does not matter whether the user is a wealthy person or a student. For them its business that matters. These are things which the Government should really consider and not just sit idle by banning internet.