In an order that is drawing all sorts of reactions, the Uttarakhand Police, in a new circular has said that it will now scrutinise one’s social media behaviour before allowing them the clearance to apply for passport.
This, as per the Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar, will be a step to rein the growing misuse of social media that has become a platform to fuel one’s ill-propaganda with like-minded people high on communalism and more of such flaws.
The decision to make the examination of a passport applicant’s social media behaviour compulsory was taken at a meeting chaired by the Director-General of Police.
The DGP defended the decision saying that the state is not introducing anything “new or drastic”. He adds that he had only spoken in favour of enforcing a clause already there in the passport law.
“There is a clause in the passport law not to issue the document to anyone indulging in anti-national activities. I have only spoken in favour of its enforcement,” Mr Kumar said.
“As a police officer I stand against anything that falls into the category of anti-national activities as defined by our Constitution,” he added.
Mr Kumar, justifying his stand, also quoted the violence that was unleashed in the capital on January 26 and how social media was used as a weapon to”escalate tension”. Though he didn’t mention it, but we believe, besides normal citizens, Mr. Kumar was referring to several journalists who played their part in spreading fake news, especially about that one person who died due to his carelessness after his tractor rolled over.
“Deterrents like these are necessary to discourage the growing misuse of social media and send a message to users to be more responsible,” he said.
Till now, the rule makes it mandatory for the officials to check if there is/are any FIRs lodged against the perosn applying for the passport.