Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea had suspended their internet services in most parts of the National Capital and adjoining areas following a home ministry directive on Tuesday in the wake of violent farmers’ protests in Delhi on 26th January 2021.
The Ministry of Home Affairs in a notice said, “In the interest of maintaining public safety & averting public emergency, it is necessary and expedient to order the temporary suspension of the internet in areas of Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk and Nangloi and their adjoining areas in the NCT of Delhi from 12:00 hrs to 23:59 hrs on January 26, 2021.”
Executives of telecom operators confirmed the directive and said they are switching to 2G in many parts of the region, while in some areas they are completely suspending internet services.
More than 50 million subscribers have been hit by the internet shutdown across the national capital and neighbouring areas.
Many people shared on social media screenshots of a text message they received on their mobile phones. “As per government instructions, Internet services have been stopped in your area till further notice,” the message read.
Later in the day, Internet services were also suspended for 24 hours, till 5 pm on January 27, in at least three districts of neighbouring Haryana, with the option to extend it further if the situation deteriorated, sources said.
The three districts, Sonipat, Jhajjar and Palwal, are within a two-hour distance radius from Parliament.
Internet services in the NCR were last suspended in December 2019, during the anti-CAA protests. Acting on a Delhi Police order, telecom operators had then snapped all services, including voice and SMS, for four hours, between 9 am and 1 pm, on December 19, 2019.