Mobile internet services were restored in Basirhat on Monday, about two weeks after they were withdrawn following communal tension in Baduria. “Situation is completely normal and Internet services have been resumed since Monday night”, said DM (North-24 Parganas) Antara Acharya.
Communities clashed in the district on July 2 after an “objectionable post” was posted on the Facebook. Internet services were suspended the next day and curfew under Section 144 CrPC was imposed in turbulent areas. “Initially it was suspended till July 10, but was restored only on July 17. Without Internet, life seems so tough these days. My daughter, who is in another country, usually keeps in touch through video calls. My area wasn’t really affected during the tension, but with no Internet, it felt like house arrest… A small mistake [on social media] can get so many people in trouble,” said Mohini Bhattacharya, a homemaker from Swarupnanagar.
There was constant pressure from local residents to resume Internet services. “Situation had got become normal long back, yet Internet was still suspended to avoid fresh flare-ups. These days, it’s so easy to post a sensitive thing on social media, which is open to all, and things just go out of control. People must realise the power of social media and use it in a positive way. Our cyber cell has been alerted, and we are keeping an eye out for sensitive posts. Actions will be taken against anyone creating problems,” an administrative officer told The Indian Express.
Police personnel too felt the pressure of not being able to keep in touch with friends and families during when internet services were withdrawn. “I am not far from home but this has been difficult. I felt like I was far away,” said a policeman who has been in Basirhat since the tensions flared up. “No Facebook, no Whatsapp. In fact it was difficult to even share important information with seniors.”