Barely a week after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had asked policemen to refrain from uploading operational and law and order related details on social media, director general of police S P Vaid has instructed cops
to stop use of mobile phones while on duty. The J&K police chief has also asked trainees not to use mobile phones during the course of training.
Vaid has issued a circular in this regard that strictly prohibits policemen from using cell phones during sensitive duty and alert duties or while undergoing training.
"Ever since the mobile services were launched in the state, the police personnel as others have taken advantage of the fast communication it provides in carrying out their official tasks. However, the disturbing trend is that police personnel deployed on guard duties or point duties are invariably seen often talking on their cell phones oblivious to the task and responsibility they are entrusted with," reads the order, a copy of which is with this news paper.
The order adds: "This results not only in disruption of police duty but can also be a great security risk as the sentry or traffic official would hardly notice looming threat or disruption when his mind and body are concentrated elsewhere."
"It has also been noticed that police recruits under training are always carrying and using cell phones without any restrictions," the circular reads.
"Carrying cell phones and using them during duty hours or while undergoing training besides becoming cause of distraction/disruption or damage, also amounts to flouting of norms of discipline and conduct rules."
This "unhealthy practice", the order reads, of using cell phones while on duty is very disturbing and has negative impact on the overall working environment and image of the department, besides compromising the efficiency and efficacy of the tasks.
"…it is enjoined upon all the heads of wings that necessary steps be taken to curb the tendency of using cell phone by men deployed at sensitive/alert duties/ in training institutes, the trainees shall not be allowed to carry cell phones during training hours and the same shall remain deposited with their instructor/course administrators during training hours," the order warns. "These instructions shall be implemented strictly."
The fresh directive comes a week after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had expressed her serious concern in the recently held unified headquarters meeting in Jammu over the fact that some district police chiefs were uploading operational and law and order details on social media including twitter.
The move had prompted Kashmir police chief Muneer Khan to issue an advisory calling for a complete ban on uploading any details regarding law and order of any operation on social media by the cops.
Interestingly, last year on December 25, the state government issued, what it called, guidelines to regulate the usage of social media by its employees, which included, among others, refraining from posts prejudicial to the government. The gag order had evoked sharp criticism from the pro-freedom camp who had termed the official order a move aimed "at silencing the popular sentiment in Kashmir."