Tony Huidrom, a medical professional from Toronto, was unable to contact his family in India’s Manipur state due to a month-long internet blackout. Huidrom had to rely on calling his brother’s office to communicate with his father. Manipur is currently experiencing ethnic violence, and the internet shutdown has made it difficult for diaspora communities in Canada to connect with their families. India has a history of internet shutdowns, and it has topped the yearly count of shutdowns globally for five consecutive years. Lienlaltheng Gangte, a Vancouver resident, expressed concern that the blackout has worsened the conflict in Manipur. He has written to the High Commission of India in Ottawa but has not received a response. A report by Human Rights Watch and the Internet Freedom Foundation highlighted the negative impact of internet shutdowns on marginalized people and those living in poverty. Jonathan Penney, a legal scholar, believes that shutting down communication channels is undemocratic and harms citizens’ fundamental rights. India’s government justifies the shutdowns using a British colonial-era law.
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