Govt issues advisory to maintain secrecy after Modi’s itinerary is leaked
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed state governments to adhere to the Officials Secrets Act (OSA) to maintain secrecy of classified documents and VVIP programmesindia Updated: Oct 16, 2017 23:51 IST
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed state governments to adhere to the Officials Secrets Act (OSA) to maintain secrecy of classified documents and VVIP programmes after minute-to-minute details of a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi were found circulating on social media. Advisories in this regard have been issued to all states twice this year, the latest being last month.Sources in MHA maintain that all precautions are being taken to avoid security breaches.
The trigger for these advisories was related to a visit made by PM Modi Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur district in August last year.Entire details of the PM’s visit issued by Special Protection Group (SPG) were found to be circulating on Whatsapp mobile application before the date of the visit.
The PM had on August 9, 2016 visited the birthplace of freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad at Bhabra in Alirajpur district . The visit was held to commemorate the sacrifices of freedom fighters on the Quit India day and launch the ‘Azadi 70 Saal-Yaad Karo Qurbani’ programme.
In January this year Chief Secretaries and Director Generals of all states and Union Territories were made aware of the “leakage”.
“During the Prime Minister’s visit to Alrajpur, Madhya Pradeshon August 9, 201, the minute-to-minute programme of his visit issued by SPG was found circulating in the State on Whatsapp mobile application, breaching security instructions,” the letter issued by MHA on January 13 states.
“Several instances of leakage of sensitive security documents of classified category circulating on social media have come to notice in the recent past. Such leakages of secret official documents of visit proramme have serious security implications and can lead to any untoward incidents,” the MHA advisory stated. The ministry had also communicated that all officials must adhere to OSA to safeguard classified documents and take stringent corrective measures to maintain secrecy of VVIP programmes.
While the matter should have ideally been resolved following the January advisory, the leaks do not seem to have stopped. In another advisory to state authorities on September 13, the MHA stated, “despite an advisory issued by the ministry , during the recent visit of the Prime Minister the minute-minute programme was found to be circulating in the social media”. The second advisory warns the states that such leaks could be used by “ inimical elements” however does not specify details of which visit were leaked on social media.
When asked to comment about the advisory, an MHA official said, “Such leakages are considered security breaches and all precautions are being taken by the ministry to avoid such instances”.