The Rajasthan government on Friday, ordered for suspending internet services to enforce law and order, and to prevent fraud during the teachers’ entrance examination that was held on Sunday. On Sunday, about 16 Lakh students across the state appeared for REET (Rajasthan Eligibility Examination for Teachers) which was held to appoint Level 1 (class 1-5) and Level 2 (classes 6-8) teachers in 4,019 centers.
Principal Secretary, Home, Abhay Kumar, on Friday asked the Divisional Commissioners to take a call on suspending internet services. He wrote, “About 16 lakh students will participate in REET 2021 and will travel from one district to another. In such a situation, there is a possibility of deteriorating law and order situation due to fake news, rumours of accidents, paper leak, etc.” He further added, “Thus, keeping in mind the Central government’s 2017 notification on “public safety” and “public emergency, suspend internet services.”
Dinesh Kumar Yadav, Divisional Commissioner, in Jaipur division, issued orders for suspension of internet services in Alwar, Dausa, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu and Sikar. His order said it has become necessary to suspend, “2G/3G/4G/ Data (mobile internet), internet services, bulk SMS/MMS WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media Services through Internet Service Providers (except voice calls and broadband internet).”
In the rural areas of Jaipur, internet was shut between 7.30 am and 5.30 pm while in Jaipur Urban, orders were issued for suspension of the internet for 10 hours between 7 am and 5 pm. In Alwar, Dausa, and Jhunjhunu, internet services were suspended for 12 hours, between 6 am and 6 pm. In Sikar, it was suspended for nine hours, between 8 am and 5 pm. The suspension of internet services affected the food delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato. Local business were also affected due to the shut down of internet.
Due to the suspension of internet services, Satish Poonia, BJP state president targeted Congress government by saying “There is a stark difference between the words and deeds of the Congress part. Shutting down the internet on such a large scale caused inconvenience to the public. Even after suspending the internet, there were several irregularities. The government will have to come up with a strategy.”
In 2018, the Congress had opposed the suspension of internet for police constable recruitment examinations, this time BJP opposed the same.
On Sunday evening, Rajendra Gupta, spokesperson of the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE), said about 95 per cent of the 16.51 lakh eligible candidates appeared for the exam, which was held in two sessions, from 10 am to 12.30 pm and from 2.30 pm to 5 pm.
Five persons out of which three were REET candidates, were arrested from Bikaner, for wearing slippers with Bluetooth devices. The last REET was conducted in 2018.