Last month, in order to curb down on anti-national activities of government employees in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union government mandated social media scrutiny and CID inquiry for the government employees of the newly formed Union Territory.
In a circular issued by Jammu and Kashmir’s General Administration Department, it is now mandatory to get security clearance of all unverified government employees from the J&K Police’s criminal investigation department (CID).
The March 3 order stated that the police verification process was not new with the orders issued by previous state governments making the procedure mandatory.
The circular stated that, “It has, however, been observed that these instructions are not being adhered to in some Departments/Subordinate offices, as a result of which many individuals with dubious character antecedents and conduct have been paid salaries and other allowances, without obtaining their mandatory CID verification.”
It further said, in order to expedite the process, the government had framed a “simplified mechanism”, devised “in consultation” with the Criminal Investigation Department.
The order mandates the new entrants in the government service to submit in J&K to submit details about their social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
An anonymous government employee in Srinagar said, “This is a tricky clause. What if the government does like some content shared by the employee on social media during his non-service years?”
In February, the J&K administration while issuing an “urgent” order, demanded the deputy commissioners of ten districts in the valley to submit details of all employees who will complete 22 years of service or attain the age of 48 by December 2021. The urgent order apart from the basic details also sought details about the involvement of employees in political activity or in cases of law and order including militancy and stone-throwing incidents.
On 4 March 2021, Aditya Raj Kaul, a Kashmiri journalist, expressed had his “amazement” over “how radicalism has been ingrained into the bureaucratic levels; how recruitments have happened of radicals…into mid-level and junior level positions in J&K police…in several departments of J&K government as well.”
Indeed, subsequent governments led by the likes of Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have been accused of favouring those with radical thoughts against the Indian state, to amplify the separatist sentiments of the ruling parties. The bureaucracy has an opaque system where merit is bogged down under corruption and favouritism.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has clearly stated that those new employees who fail the security clearance by the criminal investigation department of Jammu and Kashmir, will not have their salaries and allowances cleared by the administration.
The latest order noted that, “many individuals with dubious character antecedents and conduct have been paid salaries and other allowances, without obtaining their mandatory CID verification”.
It further stated that the verification of new employees should be “completed expeditiously and no new entrant in the Government Service (will be) paid salary/allowances till verification” is completed.