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Punjab Govt Didn't Issue Circular to Monitor Employees' Social Media Accounts

It shows the minutes of meeting held by the Jammu and Kashmir General Administration Department, and not AAP Punjab.

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WebQoof
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Punjab Govt Didn't Issue Circular to Monitor Employees' Social Media Accounts
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A screenshot of a document mentioning that the social media accounts of government employees would be monitored for posts critical of the government or its policies has gone viral on social media.

What is the claim?: The screenshot is being shared to claim that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab, led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, issued the notification for government employees in the state.

(Note: Swipe right to view all claims.)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>Political activist Adnan Ali Khan also shared the claim.</p></div>

    Political activist Adnan Ali Khan also shared the claim.

    (Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>BJP Gujarat's media head Zubin Ashara took a dig at the Aam Aadmi Party on Twitter.</p></div>

    BJP Gujarat's media head Zubin Ashara took a dig at the Aam Aadmi Party on Twitter.

    (Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>Media outlet OpIndia published an article on the circular.</p></div>

    Media outlet OpIndia published an article on the circular.

    (Source: OpIndia/Screenshot)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>MeghUpdates shared the claim on its verified Twitter account.</p></div>

    MeghUpdates shared the claim on its verified Twitter account.

    (Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

Who all shared it?: Political activist Adnan Ali Khan, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Gujarat's media head Zubin Ashara, right-wing organisation OpIndia, and verified Twitter account MeghUpdates – which has often been caught sharing misinformation in the past – shared the claim, accusing the AAP government in Punjab of penalising government employees.

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Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan had also shared the claim on Twitter, but later corrected himself in another tweet. The Tribune also reported on the document but later took it down.

But did Punjab's AAP government do it?: No, the document shows directions issued for government employees in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • The Quint got in touch with Syed Junaid Hashmi, Managing Editor of The Straight Line (a Jammu-based digital media venture), who shared the full document and said that it showed the minutes of a meeting conducted by Arun Kumar Mehta, chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir on 17 January.

How did we find out?: While looking for details regarding the viral claim, we came across a tweet by AAP Punjab's verified Twitter account.

In their tweet, the party called the notification "fake," adding that the notification was issued by the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration but was being "falsely portrayed as belonging to Punjab government (sic)."

Taking a cue from this, we looked for news reports on this notification by the J&K administration.

  • The direction came after a meeting held on 17 February in J&K and was passed by Chief Secretary AK Mehta reported The Indian Express, citing sources.

  • In the meeting, there was a mention of some government employees being "critical" of the government's policies and achievements, and were "making unfavourable comments" on social media, the report added.

  • The article also mentioned that Mehta had issued directions to all administrative secretaries to monitor employees' social media accounts and issue notices in this regard.

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The full document: The Quint accessed the full document with the help of Syed Junaid Hashmi, a journalist in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • The document mentioned the points discussed in the meeting, which included issues related to filling empty administrative positions, addressing unemployment in the union territory, conducting recruitment drives, and the matter of government employees speaking against the government on social media.

  • One can see the full page which carries the screenshot in the viral claim, which mentions the Jammu and Kashmir Service Selection and Recruitment Board (JKSSRB) and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC).

The minutes of the meeting mentioned Jammu and Kashmir.

(Source: Accessed by The Quint)

  • Further, Junaid confirmed that the document showed the minutes of a meeting held by the administration department's Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta in Jammu.

Conclusion: A document showing the minutes of a meeting held in Jammu, pertaining to monitoring government employees' social media accounts is being falsely shared as directions issued by the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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Topics:  Jammu and Kashmir   Fact Check   AAP Punjab 

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