Want Passport, Jobs? Be Wary Online, Offline: Bihar & U’khand Cops

Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar asked the police to monitor people making “anti-national” posts on social media.

2 min read
In the absence of an enforceable data protection framework, the surveillance mechanisms operate in a legislative vacuum. Image used for representation.

In a fresh order, the Bihar Police has now warned that persons indulging in criminal activities during law and order incidents, protest demonstrations, disruption of road traffic and are further named in a charge sheet, would find it difficult to get passports, government jobs, financial grants by the state, or even bank loans, The Indian Express reported.

The Uttarakhand Police, taking this a step further, now plan to monitor and take note of comments made by persons on social media. At a conference of police officers on Tuesday, Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar asked cops to maintain a record of people making “anti-national” or “anti-social” posts on social media, with screenshots as evidence, according to the Express report.


Bihar Diktat

The order, issued by Bihar’s Director General of Police, on Monday, February 1, said, “All this will be duly mentioned in the Police Verification Report. Such people should be ready for grave consequences.”

The order specifies nine services for which police verification is required: arms license, passport, character certificate, contractual jobs in government, work contracts in government departments, boards and commissions, licences for petrol pump and gas agency, government assistance or grant, bank loans, and any other purpose where such a verification is sought.

Want Passport, Jobs? Be Wary Online, Offline: Bihar & U’khand Cops

The latest order has come under strong criticism by Opposition parties. Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav likened it to the regime of Hitler and Mussolini.

“Nitish Kumar is offering a challenge to Hitler and Mussolini by ordering that any protest against the government and exercising one’s democratic rights can deprive one of a government job. It means that the government would neither give jobs nor allow one to lodge protest,” he said in a tweet.

Uttarakhand’s Social Media Surveillance

In Uttarakhand, when asked what kind of comments will be considered “anti-national”, DGP Ashok Kumar said, “Whoever is writing against national unity and integrity, that is anti-national.”

“Earlier, only FIR was checked, but now a person’s behaviour on social media will also be checked,” the Express report quoted him as saying.

When contacted, he told The Indian Express, “First, an opportunity will be provided to a person when he makes any such posts by way of counselling. But if a person does not mend his ways, a record of his posts will be maintained. No amendment in any law or rule will be required to start mentioning ‘anti-national’ posts in the police verification.”

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