The Centre on Wednesday banned all bulk SMS and MMS across India for next 72 hours with immediate effect in view of the impending verdict on Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suits by the Special Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court, scheduled for Friday.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, has directed all mobile telecom services providers to ban all bulk SMS and MMS service across India till Saturday, which could be extended further if the need arises.
For individuals, bulk SMS would be above 10 per day, while for companies it could be 100 or more.
The Home Ministry has asked the Department of Telecom to issue such directions following apprehensions from the intelligence agencies that anti-social elements and rumour-mongers could use SMS and MMS services to create tensions and disrupt peace in the country, particularly in communally-sensitive cities and towns.
A senior Home Ministry official said intelligence and law enforcement agencies would also be monitoring the flow of SMS and MMS for the next three days, and anyone found guilty of creating tensions would be severely dealt with.
Mobile operators have also been asked to keep a watch on the flow of SMS and MMS and keep government agencies informed so that prompt and proper action can be taken.
Recently, similar ban was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after security agencies found that people were using SMS and MMS to fuel trouble in the Valley. It was found that people used bulk SMS and MMS as a mode to inform people about processions and to circulate disturbing pictures of violence and unrest in the State.