Seems Jio is indeed special. There are reports coming in that Jio 4G network was up for hours even after a blanket ban was imposed on mobile internet in Saharanpur in the wake of caste-related riots. With the situation in Saharanpur allegedly not improving, authorities resorted to Section 144 and took the controversial step of banning mobile internet in the area to stop rumor mongering through apps like WhatsApp and Facebook. Interestingly, even as the data connection from other telecom operators vanished, Jio 4G was reportedly continued to work.
The report comes courtesy The Lallantop, a Hindi news publication, that noted that people on Twitter highlighted that Jio 4G was working in Saharanpur area even after the ban on the internet. One of the tweets were then picked up by AAP leader Kumar Vishwas, who retweeted it with his own comments.
However, once the news reached Delhi and senior officials became aware of the issue, it was soon fixed by the district administration.
The Saharanpur district is seeing communal clashes since May 5 after members of two communities fought over the loud music that was played during the birth anniversary celebration of Maharana Pratap.
Although it is not clear right now how the Jio services were working after the ban, it seems like a case of miscommunication or temporary lapse somewhere. It is possible that Jio might not have got the government directive on time or it is also possible that someone somewhere couldn’t press the switch off button with urgency. Or there is another possibility that Jio-powered could have picked signals from the area where the telecom service was not banned.
In India, ban on the mobile internet seems to have become part of the standard operating procedure in case of some trouble on the roads. From Kashmir to Madhya Pradesh, mobile internet services have seen disruption whenever there has been a law and order problem.
While the government officials argue that the ban on internet services helps them clamp down on rumor mongering, which nowadays often happens with WhatsApp and Facebook, critics of the policy say that banning the internet is an extreme step that borders on the infringement of free speech. The ban on the internet also affects the life of ordinary, law-abiding citizens, especially nowadays considering how many basic services depend on the internet.