Srinagar: The administration of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has announced new rules under which employees can be dismissed if they or their family members are found to be "sympathetic" to people accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA).
Only a few days earlier, the J&K administration had made vigilance clearance mandatory for all government employees applying for passports.
Laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) are increasingly being used to stifle dissent, say activists. The freedom of speech of six lakh government employees in the union territories could be affected by the new rules, reported The Wire.
The new order said that the government employees should maintain "absolute integrity, honesty, and allegiance to the Union of India and its Constitution". The order demands that an employee inform the administration about any involvement of their immediate family in any "subversive act, directly or indirectly".
On June 21, the J&K government amended rules governing the appointment of new employees. Since then, 'Instruction 2' to the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Verification of Character and Antecedents) Instructions, 1997, has been added to make CID verification mandatory for all employees of the Government of Kashmir.
The CID has been instructed to scrutinise employees for any contact with "representatives or nationals from a foreign country" or their "financial interests in other countries which make an individual potentially vulnerable to coercion, exploitation, or pressure by a foreign government."
Previously, in July, the J&K government used Article 311 of the constitution to fire 11 employees, including the daughter of a Jamaat-e-Islami activist and the two sons of Hizb supremo Syed Salahuddin, once again, allegedly without a fair probe.
Kashmir-based political parties and activists said that the decision will undermine the tenets of democracy. M .Y. Tarigami, CPI(M) general secretary called it authoritarian order and said that it goes against the interest of the people.