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‘Anti-national’ posts on social media? Uttarakhand police won’t verify passport

Feb 02, 2021 11:08 PM IST

Social media behaviour of those applying for passport or arms licence will now be scrutinised for “anti-national” posts.

Uttarakhand police will now scrutinise social media behaviour of those putting “anti-national” posts on such sites and may not clear verification for passport or arms licence if they are found to doing it habitually, state director general of police Ashok Kumar said on Tuesday.

Uttarakhand's Director General of Police Ashok Kumar(HT PHOTO)

"Till now, in case a person was putting anti-national posts or fake news on social media, the police used to counsel him and ask him not to repeat it in future. A case was registered only if it was a very serious case," Kumar said.

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"From now onwards, the police will scrutinise the accused's social media behaviour to check if he is habitually putting such anti-national posts. If it is found so, then the police would mention it in his/her police verification and may not clear in his application for passport or arms license," he said on the concluding day of state police officers’ conference held at police headquarters in Dehradun.

The development was among other measures discussed by the police officers during the conference to improve policing in the state.

"The decision was taken as there has been an increase in people putting anti-national posts on social media in the state," said another police officer privy to the development.

"The social media monitoring team has been keeping a strict eye to track down such people. It was found that the number of such posts on social media platforms has increased, which is a clear threat to law and order," the officer said.

However, the legal experts have termed the move as an infringement of an individual's freedom of expression.

Senior lawyer at Uttarakhand High Court, Kartikeya Gupta said, "It is a complete infringement of an individual's freedom expression. Police has no right to decide whether any post on social media is anti-national or not as it is the job of the courts."

Gupta added, "Police cannot pass such a gag order. If police itself will decide that then what will the courts do?"

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