AHMEDABAD: Police today lifted the ban they had imposed on mobile internet, social media and SMS services in the wake of violence during the Patel stir in various parts of State last week.
However, the restrictions will remain in force till tomorrow midnight in Ahmedabad though the situation has already returned to normalcy. As per a notification issued today by the city Police Commissioner Shivanand Jha, the ban on mobile internet, social media services and SMS service will continue till tomorrow midnight.
It said the ban is still needed to prevent anti-social elements from using the social media platform to spread rumours.
The statewide ban was imposed on these services on the night of August 25 after violence erupted across the state following detention of Patel leader Hardik Patel, which claimed ten lives in different incidents. As the situation has improved in the last 48 hours, police lifted the ban on mobile internet and social media in other parts of state.
Now, people are able to connect to internet from their mobile phones and access social media sites like Whats App and Twitter through their mobile phones in all cities and districts but Ahmedabad city.
As the tension has eased across the state and no untoward incident has taken place in last 48 hours, the Gujarat Government has asked all district collectors and respective heads of police yesterday to take a call on lifting the ban.
"Yesterday, we were asked to take a call from our side to whether to continue the ban or lift it, depending on the situation in our area. Since Ahmedabad district remained calm since last three days, I have ordered to lift the ban in the district today. However, the ban is still there in the city" said Ahmedabad district collector Raj Kumar Beniwal. Elsewhere in Saurashtra region, the ban has been lifted since last midnight after respective collectors assessed the situation.
Surat Commissioner of Police Rakesh Asthana also lifted the ban this evening. "As situation in the city is normal since last few days, I have ordered to lift the ban on mobile internet and social media from today evening," he said.
In some places of North Gujarat, such as Mehsana and Patan, district administration has decided to continue the ban on social media sites while the ban on mobile internet has been lifted. In Banaskantha district, the ban has completely been lifted from evening.
In another development, Ahmedabad crime branch has lodged an FIR against unidentified persons. "We learned that many people and groups have created, shared or forwarded some video and audio clips having inflammatory content, which caused enmity between two communities and resulted in such large scale violence. Thus, we have filed an FIR against unknown people," said ACP, crime branch, K N Patel.
"We have found one such audio clip, which was circulated in social media to incite one particular community. We are now collecting all such material and trying to nab those who are behind such act of disturbing peace and harmony," he added.