Bihar, Uttarakhand Police Will Now Check Individuals’ Protest Sympathy, Participation During Verification Process
The Bihar Police announced Monday that participating in a demonstration that turned violent will now be considered in the police verification process, along with minor offenses to public order, such as the disruption of traffic.
This information will be added to an individual’s character certificate, and can be used to deny the verification needed for government jobs, passports, licences, bank loans and so on.
Taking this a step further, the Uttarakhand Police has said it will now monitor and document comments made by persons on social media for “anti-national” or “anti-social” sentiments as part of the police verification process.
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“Earlier, only FIR was checked, but now a person’s behavior on social media will also be checked,” said the Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar at a conference of police officers on improving policing in the state on Tuesday.
The definition of unacceptable messaging is vague. Anything that is “written against national unity and integrity” is considered anti-national, Kumar told the Indian Express. “If a person does not mend his ways, a record of his posts will be maintained. No amendment in any law or rule will be required to start mentioning ‘anti-national’ posts in the police verification.”
The decision was taken as there “has been an increase in the number of people putting anti-national posts on social media in the state,” another police officer privy to the developments told Hindustan Times. He did not describe the content of such posts. “The social media monitoring team has been keeping a strict vigil to track down such posts and people as it is a clear threat to law and order.”
In Bihar, any offenses to public order, including participation in a protest deemed violent, will be listed in the individual’s certificate of conduct and can be used to deny them police verification. The order specifies nine services for which police verification is required: arms license, passport, contractual jobs in government, work contracts in government departments, licenses, government assistance or grant, bank loans, and so on. The order, issued by the Director-General of Police, on February 1, said, “All this will be duly mentioned in the Police Verification Report. Such people should be ready for grave consequences.”