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Past Protest Record to Deny Jobs, Passports - J&K

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August 04, 2021

Why in news?

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has directed the departments to deny security clearance to passport verification for those found involved in law and order and stone-pelting cases.

What does this mean?

  • Police verification and security clearances for passport or government job applicants are a matter of routine in most parts of the country.
  • The J&K decision now means that past protest record would be used to deny passport or government job.
  • The J&K police would deny security clearance to those “involved in crimes prejudicial to the security of the State, including stone-pelting.”
  • The circular asks CID Special Branch field units to specifically look into any subject’s involvement in law-and-order incidents and related crimes.
  • The units are also asked to collect digital evidence from the records of police and security forces.

Is it legally valid?

  • The decision to subject applicants for passports and jobs to scrutiny is not illegal.
  • Under Section 6(2) of the Passports Act, 1967, passports can be denied to applicants for various reasons.
  • These may include likelihood of engaging in activities prejudicial to the country’s sovereignty and integrity, or detrimental to its security.
  • Those convicted in the preceding 5 years, or against whom proceedings are pending before any criminal court, can also be denied passports.
  • As a legal recourse, the Act allows those affected to approach the trial court for a ‘No Objection’ certificate to get a passport.

What is the government’s rationale?

  • The Government’s position is that the alteration of the status of J&K in August 2019 has ushered in a new era of development and prosperity.
  • So, it feels the need to strengthen grassroots democracy.
  • It was as a part of this process that the Prime Minister invited leaders of the Union Territory’s political parties for a discussion.
  • Given these, it is a conscious move now to prevent those with a past protest record from either entering government service or travelling abroad.

What is the likely impact?

  • The official list of street protesters swelled significantly between 2008 and 2017 up to around 20,000.
  • So, the decision would affect hundreds of families in Kashmir.
  • It could result in serious prejudice to the hopes and aspirations of many young men and women.
  • There is thus a danger that it may revive the sort of alienation among the youth that led to the stone-pelting incidents in 2008 and 2010.

What should the approach be?

  • There are few who still carry a sense of betrayal for the government’s actions.
  • Any new measures should not add to this and make them feel that some fresh collective punishment is in the offing.
  • So, the efforts of the government should only be directed towards building on the current gains.


Source: The Hindu

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