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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Quit anti-national social media groups, says Manipur govt

This is the second order issued by BJP-led state government in five days aimed at preventing any disturbance to peace and public order

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati Published 13.08.22, 12:10 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File photo

The Manipur government has set a 48-hour deadline for its officials to quit social media groups “engaged in furthering anti-national, anti-state, anti-social, communal and divisive agendas” or face disciplinary action.

The office memorandum issued by H. Gyan Prakash, special secretary (home), on Wednesday directed government officials who were “members” of social media groups such as Facebook, WhatsApp and other chat groups “to exit from such social media group(s) within 48 (forty-eight) hours i.e. 6pm of 12.08.2022 failing which appropriate disciplinary action will be initiated against them”.

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According to the government order, members of these social media groups, in order to “spread and push” their respective agenda, indulge in “spreading” false information, hate speeches/videos and also share information that “are not to be in public domain”, affecting peace and law and order situation in the state.

The order said there was information about “many” government officials, including senior ones, being “members of these groups inadvertently or by choice, thereby participating directly and indirectly in furtherance of separatist, anti-national, anti-state, anti-social and divisive agendas”.

Some government employees are also “contributing, sharing and commenting on blogging and micro-blogging sites in a manner which is unbecoming” of a government employee, the order said, adding “participation” of government officials in such groups may be “construed” as involvement in activities of such groups/blogging sites that is in contravention of All India Services (Conduct) rules or Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964 and they are liable for disciplinary action.

Sources said the order followed chief minister N. Biren Singh’s address to government employees during the mass distribution of national flags to government employees as part of the nationwide Har Ghar Tiranga campaign in Imphal on Wednesday.

According to a government statement, Singh in his speech had said government employees “should refrain from any activities, which would create tensions among different communities”.

This is the second order issued by the BJP-led state government in five days aimed at preventing any disturbance to peace and public order.

On Sunday, the government had suspended mobile data services in the state for five days to prevent any untoward incident following the burning of a vehicle by “three-four youths” on National Highway 2 in Bishnupur district on Saturday.

The incident took place amid the economic blockade called by the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM), demanding the release of five arrested leaders and tabling of the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill, 2021, granting more autonomy to the ADC.

The order suspending mobile internet services, also issued by special secretary (home) Prakash on Saturday night, said anti-social elements were using social media extensively for transmission of images, hate speech and video messages to incite the public.

“The social media has also become a handy tool for rumour-mongers and is being used to incite the general public which might have serious repercussions for the law and order situation in the state,” Saturday’s order said.

Wednesday’s directive to government officials is reportedly linked to the tension and law-and-order issues triggered by the non-tabling of the ADC bill.

The state government lifted the suspension of mobile data service on Tuesday, a day after releasing the five arrested ATSUM leaders to ease tension.

The ATSUM, too, temporarily suspended its economic blockade on Wednesday evening. However, the tribal student body will continue its agitation for tabling of the of the Hill Areas Committee, Autonomous District Council Bill 2021 in the state Assembly as promised by the government in August 2021. The student body has also asked the HAC of the state Assembly to clear its stand on the ADC bill.

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