The tweet by Rihanna pointed out the internet ban on the Delhi border, the hub of anti farm ordinance protests, appears to have put the Modi government on the back foot. Subsequent to Rihanna’s tweet, the US State department put out a statement hinting its disapproval of internet ban. On 3 February, an official of the Union home ministry stated that there are no plans to further extend internet suspension at Delhi’s borders.
“US state department recognises that unhindered access to information, including the internet is fundamental to freedom of expression and a thriving democracy,” read the statement from the US State Department.
The Haryana state government on Wednesday lifted the internet ban imposed in Panipat and Charkhi Dadri. The ban will be continued in five other districts of the state till 5 pm on February 4, states a report by news agency PTI.
The Modi government on 26 January ordered shutdown of internet services in parts of Delhi NCR amid protests by farmers in the national capital. The internet services were suspended by the BJP governed Haryana which has borders with Delhi. The key areas where internet were stopped include Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi, Kaithal, Jind, Rohtak, Sonipat, Jhajjar, Panipat, Charkhi Dadri and adjoining areas in the NCT of Delhi.
A petition was also submitted on 2nd February, calling for shutdown of internet services by the Modi government and Haryana as illegal and seeking immediate restoration of these services, at the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The internet ban appeared to have not impacted the farmers protest in view of the large gatherings and steady stream of images and videos from the protest sites have been shared on microblogging site Twitter.