India shut down the internet in northeastern states Assam and Meghalaya on Dec. 13. The move came protests erupted after parliament passed the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). The bill will offer citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants who have settled on Indian soil after entering the country illegally. This sparked major protests across the region.
Staggeringly, this is the 91st time the South Asian country has shut down the internet this year. In 2018, they did so 134 times. In comparison, the country next on the list was Pakistan with just 12 internet shutdowns.
However, the Indian government was not able to shut down voices across the entire country. Videos of the Indian army battling the protests starting emerging on Twitter.
Some tweeted about the situation on the ground, which seems to be worsening by the minute.
The frustration also bubbled up on Twitter in the form of sarcastic tweets.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come under fire for the country’s recent economic troubles. India’s GDP growth fell to a mere 4.5% in the second fiscal quarter, marking the slowest growth in the last six years.
To make matters worse, the manufacturing sector also took a hit; the growth rate plummeted to -1%. By comparison, the manufacturing sector grew by 12.1% in the previous fiscal year. This happened despite the government’s decision to cut corporate tax and boost investments in the country.
The move to pass CAB was a hasty one, and because of the unrest it stirred, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled his visit . The two countries had planned the summit to approve the Rs 130,000 million investment (roughly $1.9 billion) that Japan was going to make in India’s Northeast region.
The much-anticipated investment was supposed to spur development in the region. But the unrest repelled the investment. With the Indian economy already weakening, the Modi government can’t afford the disaster which is brewing in the region.