For protesters, getting jobs, passports may get tougher

February 5, 2021 0 By boss

(This story originally appeared in on Feb 05, 2021)

DEHRADUN/PATNA: Posting something on social media deemed “anti-national” could bar people from getting passports and arms licences in Uttarakhand. Meanwhile, joining a protest or staging a blockade could bar people from getting bank loans, government jobs and a host of other services in Bihar.

However, soon after the orders, issued by the police chiefs of the respective states, created a controversy, DGPs in both the states said there was “nothing new” in the basic structure of the rules they were implementing.

At the conclusion of the Police Officers’ Conference in Dehradun on Tuesday, Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar said at a press conference that police will maintain a database of social media activity that is “anti-national” or “anti-social” to be used for police verification when someone applies for a passport or arms licence. The decision was taken at the two-day conference.

A senior Uttarakhand Police official told TOI: “The decision will have an impact only on those who post anti-national content which compromises the sovereignty and security of the country, and can be a threat to law and order.”

A day before Uttarakhand announced it is widening the scope of social media scrutiny, Bihar had decided to keep an eye on protests. Bihar DGP SK Singhal’s order, issued on Monday, listed nine services for which police verification is needed: government jobs, work contracts for government projects, arms licences, passports, character certificates, licences for petrol pumps and gas agencies, bank loans, contractual work for government-aided organisations, and any other work for which police may consider a verification necessary.

By Thursday, amid a controversy over the rules, police in both states said they were not changing rules but only enforcing them more strictly. In Bihar, ADG Jitendra Kumar told that all points mentioned in the order are already in practice as per rules. “…nowhere is the order impinging on anyone’s rights to protest.”

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