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J&K administration to keep an eye over social media accounts of govt employees

Last Updated on March 10, 2021 at 11:58 am

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has demanded that its new recruits submit their social media account details for police verification.

In 2017, the J&K government has issued a list of dos and don’ts for its employees. But this time, the police will be scrutinising the social media activity of fresh recruits. J&K’s General Administration Department issued a circular on Thursday asking all the administrative secretaries, divisional commissioners and heads of various departments to get security clearance of unverified government employees from the criminal investigation department (CID) of J&K Police.

Employees whose verification has not been carried out will have to provide basic details such as name, date of birth, and address, along with details of social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc).

The GAD circular notes that many employees who have problematic records have been paid salaries and other allowances, without CID verifying their details. It further says that such cases should be verified as soon as possible and no new Government employee should be paid salary/allowances till their verification is over.

Manoj K. Dwivedi, commissioner secretary, GAD, who issued the order, told The Wire that the government is aware of a couple of employees who have been receiving salaries without even getting their police verification certificate. He said that the administration instructed all the departments to verify details of their employees through Police before sending them salaries.

The senior superintendent of police of the CID will have responsibility to gather details of employees from the heads of departments. J&K Police website states that the CID collects and disseminates information about “undesirable elements” and also verifies government service information and passports.

There are apprehensions that the latest GAD circular will be used to suppress an individual’s fundamental right of free speech under the pretext of “national interest”. Free speech activists are of the opinion that the government is trying to curb dissent through this decision. Recently, the Central government has pressurized Twitter and other social media platforms to remove hundreds of thousands of posts on Kashmir, according to the global media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The CPJ noted that the government of India is taking help of legal processes to suppress Kashmiri journalism and commentary on Twitter. Last year, the Central government demanded that Twitter remove 2,772 accounts or tweets.