SRINAGAR, Mar 25: PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said the social media guidelines for Jammu and Kashmir government employees were part of “a clear intimidation of dispossessing people” of their livelihood.
Senior CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami too hit out at the J and K administration, saying being a government employee does not mean one giving up all legitimate constitutional rights as a citizen. “Whether it was blacklisting contractors and the social media gag to employees, a clear intimidation of dispossessing people in J&K of their livelihood has emerged. Authorities have become judge, jury and executioner in complete violation of the fundamental rights of people,” Mehbooba wrote on Twitter. The Jammu and Kashmir administration has warned its employees of strict disciplinary action, including termination from service, for posting any material on social media that is critical to any policy pursued or action taken by the government. Tarigami said barring employees from expressing their views about the issues concerning them is tantamount to stripping them of their basic rights. “They must be treated as citizens, not as subjects,” he said, adding an employee is not a slave. “He has presented his services to the government for government works, but he has not surrendered himself. The administration should understand this. A citizen cannot be deprived of his constitutional rights, and if it is done, then it is unconstitutional and unlawful,” Tarigami said. The CPI(M) leader said an employee should get all the rights which a citizen has. The Constitution has given him the right to criticise policies of the government, but how he expressed that should be under the ambit of the law and the Constitution, he added. A circular issued on Friday by Commissioner Secretary, General Administration Department, Sanjeev Verma said fresh provisions have been incorporated in the Jammu and Kashmir Employees Conduct Rules, 1971, barring employees from commenting on political or government policies on social media. As per the new guidelines, no employee shall, through any post, tweet or otherwise, discuss or criticise on social media, any policy pursued or action taken by the government, nor shall he or she, in any manner, participate in any such discussion or criticism on social media communities or micro-blogs. No employee shall post, tweet or share content that is political or anti-secular and communal in nature or subscribe to pages, communities or Twitter handles and blogs of such nature, said the guidelines on the use of social media by government employees in the Union Territory.