Mobile internet and SMS services have not yet resumed after last week’s massive Patel rally. But there might be some solace in the fact that politicians weren’t spared either.
Gujarat internet ban: On Day Six, citizens have had enough of being patronised by the state

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Six days after Hardik Patel’s mammoth Patel rally in Ahmedabad, the people of Gujarat had reached the end of their tether. The violence that erupted in the aftermath of the rally on August 25 was brought under control within two days, curfew was lifted almost everywhere by August 28 and life could have gone back to normal for everyone by now. But it hasn’t, because of the Gujarat government’s refusal to re-start mobile internet and text message services for residents of the state.

The state had initially declared that it would lift the ban on 2G, 3G services and SMS services by August 31. But as the authorities continued to spend Monday “reviewing the situation”, Gujaratis in most major cities and towns had to live and work without texting, sending Whatsapp messages, using certain broadband services and making online purchases and transactions.

By Monday evening, some net users in Mumbai were also unable to access Twitter and Facebook as an effect of the same block.

Internet and social media blockages have been a regular feature of governance in sensitive states like Jammu and Kashmir, but for the people of Gujarat, this is a first. Besides the Rs 5-crore lossesthat telecom companies are allegedly suffering every day, the ban has left citizens feeling frustrated, indignant and patronised.

“For how long will the government decide whether we can communicate with each other normally? It’s not like the situation is spinning out of control – things have been quiet and calm for at least four days in most places of the city and state,” said a Patidar youth from Ahmedabad who did not wish to be named.