India has asked Internet service providers to block certain websites and restricted users from sending bulk SMSes for two weeks after threatening content caused panic across the country, official sources said.
About 156 websites were blocked by Internet service providers (ISPs) at the instructions of the government over the weekend, in line with their license rules, said Rajesh Chharia, president of Internet Service Providers Association of India on Monday.
A large number of people from India's northeast, working in Bangalore and other cities, fled back to their homes after receiving SMSes (short message service) and online threats of alleged Muslim retaliation for recent violence between Muslims and indigenous communities in the state of Assam.
Northeastern migrants usually work at lower-paid jobs such as servants, waiters and assistants at stores and hair-dressing salons. As the cost of mobile phones and services have fallen, they have signed up to stay in touch with their families back home.
Some people were also charged by the police for allegedly using SMS messages and online content using morphed images to incite Muslims.
Police in Bangalore arrested a person running a store where consumers can buy pre-paid mobile credit. He had allegedly obtained the mobile numbers of people who had come to his store to purchase additional mobile talk-time and sent out SMSes to these numbers, according to a report.