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Uttarakhand Police to scrutinise ‘anti-national’ posts on social media before verifying passports

Uttarakhand Police have also decided to make examination of social media behaviour of passport applicants a part of the verification process.
 

Uttarakhand Police to scrutinise anti-national posts on social media before verifying passports-dnm
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Dehradun, First Published Feb 4, 2021, 4:16 PM IST
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Dehradun: The Uttarakhand Police has decided to scrutinise social media behaviour of those putting “anti-national” posts on such sites before giving their clearance for people applying for passports.

Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar said on Thursday that online behaviour of passport applicants needs to be scrutinised to stop growing misuse of social media platforms.

"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.

"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.

Uttarakhand Police have also decided to make examination of social media behaviour of passport applicants a part of the verification process.

Justifying the decision, Kumar said the measure is needed to stop growing misuse of social media platforms to foment trouble.

As per the directives, participation in protest would affect police verification for these arms: license, passport, character certificate, contractual jobs in government, work contracts in government departments, boards and commissions, licences for petrol pump and gas agency, government assistance or grant, bank loans, The Indian Express reported.

The order said “any person who gets involved in road blockades, protest demonstrations or other activities that affected law and order and against whom the police issues a charge-sheet for involvement in a criminal activity, must be awarded an adverse entry in character verification certificate.”

However, the DGP denied he had introduced anything "new or drastic" saying 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," 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 said.

Replying to a question, he admitted that the way social media was used to "escalate tension" during the recent tractor parade in Delhi may have acted as a catalyst on taking the decision.

"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.

Earlier, police only checked whether or not FIRs were lodged against passport applicants.

However, the decision to add scrutiny of social media behaviour of passport applicants to the police verification process was taken during the police conference where the role of social media platforms in recent times came up prominently for discussions.

(With inputs from agency) 

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