Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in what could be his final term as the Bihar CM, has been making some draconian moves which undermine India’s democratic structure. In a controversial move, the Bihar Police has issued a new circular where it has stated that no government jobs will be available for those found staging protests and blocking roads.
Nitish Kumar, who off-late has come to be known as the ’40 seat Chief Minister’ is looking increasingly insecure as his fate lies with the BJP and the latest Bihar Police circular points to his rising unpopularity and insecurity.
“If a person is involved in any criminal act by engaging in a law and order situation, protests, road jams and is charged by the police for thus, then specific mention of this will be made in the character verification report by the police,” said DGP SK Singhal said in the directive.
The official letter added, “Such people have to be prepared for serious consequences because they will not be able to get a government job or apply for government tenders.”
The right to protest must be safeguarded in every democracy and Nitish Kumar has no standing to snatch away this right from the people of Bihar. Yes, he can act against violent protesters or people who block national highways like Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, however, under no circumstances should Kumar attempt to stifle peaceful protests. The broad nature of the wordings used in the circular can lead to the stifling of peaceful protests.
Such a diktat drew sharp reactions from the opposition parties. RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav tweeted, “Nitish Kumar, who is challenging Mussolini and Hitler, says that if someone used his democratic right to protest against the power system, then you will not get a job. Means they will not even give jobs and will not let someone protest.”
मुसोलिनी और हिटलर को चुनौती दे रहे नीतीश कुमार कहते है अगर किसी ने सत्ता व्यवस्था के विरुद्ध धरना-प्रदर्शन कर अपने लोकतांत्रिक अधिकार का प्रयोग किया तो आपको नौकरी नहीं मिलेगी। मतलब नौकरी भी नहीं देंगे और विरोध भी प्रकट नहीं करने देंगे
बेचारे 40सीट के मुख्यमंत्री कितने डर रहे है? pic.twitter.com/h0TDkuR5vP
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) February 2, 2021
Earlier in January, Nitish made ‘offensive’ criticism of the state government on social media sites an act amounting to cybercrime. The broad nature of the notification is particularly concerning because according to the law, any person can end up in jail for ‘offensive’ criticism of the current Bihar government.
The word ‘offensive’ in itself is broad and subject to perception, and there’s every chance that it can be misused by the Nitish-led Bihar government. The law states that any ‘offensive/indecent’ post against the government, state ministers, Members of Parliament, Members of Legislative Assembly and the state government officials will now amount to cybercrime.
In fact, the Bihar government went a step further and urged the people to report ‘offensive’ posts and will subsequently take strict action after duly verifying those posts.
Nitish Kumar is increasingly behaving like a highly insecure Chief Minister who doesn’t bode well for Bihar. And the recent diktat issued by the state government proves the same.