Internet clampdowns in India have increased 27 times — from three in 2012 to 83 in 2020, according to the Internet Shutdown Tracker, maintained by Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), a legal services organization based in Delhi. Between 2012 and 2021, 468 incidents of internet shutdowns have taken place in the country.
On January 31, 2021, the Ministry of Home Affairs ordered a temporary suspension of internet services in certain areas of the National Capital Region, including Delhi's Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri borders, in light of the ongoing farmers' protests against the three new farm laws.
At 134, India saw the most number of internet shutdowns in 2018, followed by 106 in 2019 and 83 in 2020. Of the 385 internet shutdowns recorded between January 2012 and March 15, 2020, 62% were categorised as "preventive"in nature, wherein restrictions were imposed to prevent a law and order situation and 38% were categorised as "reactive" — restrictions imposed to contain an ongoing law and order issue, according to SFLC.
While most internet shutdowns lasted for less than 24 hours, 11% have lasted for over three days. Of the 385 reported incidents between 2012 and March 2020, almost 80% were targeted at mobile internet services alone.
In 2020, India was the most economically impacted country, according to data released by Top10VPN, a research organisation focused on internet privacy. Around 8,927 hours of internet blackouts and bandwidth throttling cost the Indian economy close to $3 billion and affected 10.3 million internet users. Around the world, over 27,000 hours of internet shutdowns were recorded, costing the global economy a total of $4.1 billion in 2020, data show.
Of 467 incidents of internet shutdowns since 2012, more than half was experienced by Jammu and Kashmir. At 69, the year 2020 saw the highest number internet cut offs in J&K.