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Scrutinising of social media accounts: Many Govt employees deactivate accounts in J&K

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Many government employees in Jammu and Kashmir have deactivated their social media accounts after authorities decided to scrutinize their accounts.

A recent circular issued by J&K’s General Administration Department has asked all the administrative secretaries, divisional commissioners and heads of departments to get security clearance of government employees from the J&K Police’s criminal investigation department (CID).

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The heads of government departments have been asked to provide details of social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc) of employees whose verification has not been carried out.

“Many individuals with dubious character antecedents and conduct have been paid salaries and other allowances, without obtaining their mandatory CID verification,” the GAD circular says.

Fearing trouble many employees have deactivated their social media accounts.

“I have posted a number of times against government’s policies like price rise, difficulties people faced when Kashmir received major snowfall and roads were not cleared for weeks. I don’t want to face any trouble so I deactivated my Facebook account,” an employee of Education Department said.

There are around five lakh government employees in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Another employee of Srinagar Municipal Corporation expressed similar apprehensions.

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“I have deactivated my account as I fear if the government does not like some content I shared on Twitter and Facebook,” the employee said. “I will open new accounts so I could at least post birthday wishes to my friends and my pictures,” he said.

Earlier, in February, 2021, the government issued an order, asking collectors to submit details of all employees who will complete 22 years of service or attain the age of 48 by December 2021. The order also sought details about the involvement of employees in political activity or in cases of law and order.

Earlier in December 2017, Jammu and Kashmir government banned employees from posting anything critical about the administration even on their private social media accounts.

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“No government employee shall engage in any criminal, dishonest, immoral or notoriously disgraceful conduct that may be prejudicial to the government on the social media,” an order issued by the commissioner secretary of the general administration department in 2017 reads.

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A senior official in the General Administration Department said they have identified some employees who were drawing salaries without obtaining the mandatory police verification certificate.

“Once you are in government you have to follow service rules. Government employees can’t criticize the
government’s policies.
Government is not against using of social media but employees have to use as per service rules,” the official added. (KINS)

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