Uttarakhand: ‘Anti-national’ posts to hit passport clearance

Feb 02, 2021 11:38 PM IST

Dehradun Applying for a passport in Uttarakhand? Well, you’d better not have made what the state’s top policeman termed “anti-national posts” on social media

Dehradun Applying for a passport in Uttarakhand?

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HT Image

Well, you’d better not have made what the state’s top policeman termed “anti-national posts” on social media.

Applying for a gun licence in Uttarakhand?

See answer above.

At a time when comments and posts seen as critical of the government are seen as anti-national, the comments of Ashok Kumar, the hill-state’s DGP have caused a stir. They were made on Tuesday, the concluding day of state Police Officers Conference held at police headquarters in Dehradun.

“Until now, in cases of any person putting up any anti-national posts on social media, the police used to counsel them. A case was registered only if it was a very serious case,” he added.

Under the new approach, he said, ”the police would scrutinise social media accounts to check if they were habitual posters of anti-national posts”.

Those identified as such would see the police not signing off on their so-called police verification -- mandatorily required for passports or arms licences.

A second police officer said the police took the decision to combat “an increase in the number of people putting anti-national posts on social media in the state.”

“The number of such posts on social media platforms have increased which is a clear threat to the law and order.”

Lawyers believe the move is an “infringement” of an individual’s freedom of expression.

Kartikeya Gupta, senior lawyer at Uttarakhand High Court, 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; it is the job of the courts.”

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    Kalyan Das covers crime, transport, human rights and central government offices from Bhopal and Indore.

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