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-Rajeev Kumar (Editor-in-chief)

Monday, February 8, 2021

New state: police verification (The Telegraph)

A drop in the pond causes widening ripples. What begins in one state is taken up by others, such as laws regarding interfaith marriage. Now the focus is on boxes to be ticked for police verification. This time it was not state legislators but the police of two Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled and led states who emerged as quasi-lawmakers at the Police Officers’ Conference in Dehradun. The director-general of police of Uttarakhand said that the police will form a database of social media activity to keep an eye on “anti-national” and “anti-social” posts that would become relevant when a person applied for a passport or arms licence. For passport applications so far, police verification had required details of first information reports against the applicant and of other legal proceedings, if any. But scrutiny of social media posts crosses over from official to social terrains, breaching the rights to freedom of expression and privacy. That the police feel free to make this change is a comment on the ominously changing nature of the Indian State. The Uttarakhand DGP said that only those who made “anti-national” posts threatening the country’s sovereignty and security would be affected. Apparently the police are allowed to appropriate the roles of judge and executioner; their subjective assessment will determine the lives of citizens who had thought they were living in a free, secular country.


 The Uttarakhand DGP said, in effect, that he was expanding the scope of vigilance implied by the demands of police verification regarding activities prejudicial to the nation’s security as they already exist, not taking a new step. This cannily forged grey area — the change is qualitative, not quantitative — had already been utilized the day before by the DGP of Bihar, who had decided to record participation in ‘unlawful’ protests, “law and order” situations, road blockages and so on for character verification not just for passports and arms licences but also for seven other services including government jobs. This decision was just a reiteration of practice, according to the Bihar police; it was not an infringement on the right to protest. It was merely being said that any protest against the government may prevent a citizen from going abroad or getting a government job, even a government project. The police will decide. Are Indians ready for this?

Courtesy - The Telegraph.

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इस वेबसाइट को जारी रखने में यथायोग्य मदद करें -

-Rajeev Kumar (Editor-in-chief, Sampadkiya.com)

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