Published On: Fri, Feb 24th, 2023

School teacher suspended for criticising govt. policies; three properties attached in J&K’s Ramban


A schoolteacher from Jammu’s Ramban was suspended on Friday for allegedly criticising the policies of the J&K Lieutenant Governor’s administration, just two days after a First Information Report (FIR) was lodged against a scribe “for running news without the permission of the authorities” in the district. Besides, two houses and a shop were attacked by the police in a grenade attack case in Ramban’s Gool area.

An order issued by Mussarat Islam, District Magistrate of Ramban, said after scrutinising Facebook pages, it has been found that Joginder Singh, a teacher posted at Chanderkote in Batote, “has posted various posts criticising or commenting adversely about the government policies on his Facebook page”.

“Besides, he has concealed his identity and made a fake Facebook ID with a profession as a socio-political activist and not a government teacher,” the District Magistrate said, in the order.

Mr. Singh is placed under suspension with immediate effect, pending enquiry and for violation of directions passed by the government regarding criticism of policies of the government by its employees on social media platforms, Mr. Islam’s order reads.

J&K Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, in a recently-held meeting, directed all the administrative secretaries in the Union Territory (UT) “to monitor the social media networks on a regular basis and identify the employees criticising and commenting adversely on the government policies and achievements etc. on the social media”.

Two days ago, an FIR was lodged against a Ramban-based journalist, Mudasir Nazir, under Section 188 of the Indian Penal code (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant). According to the FIR, Ahmed, “a self-claimed journalist”, has been running news without the permission of the authorities, which violates the order of the District Magistrate, issued on August 6, 2022.

Ramban has earned the distinction of issuing rules to control who practices journalism in the district. In May 2022, Mr. Islam called for the registration of media groups in the district “to verify the antecedents and source of funding of all so-called journalists who operate illegal portals without any valid degree, qualification and authorisation from competent authority”. In September 2022, the Ramban district named at least seven local scribes as “banned persons who were seen masquerading as journalists”.

‘Police takedown

Meanwhile, residential houses and a shop of three persons, allegedly involved in militant activities, were attacked by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), a special wing of the J&K Police, in Ramban’s Gool area.

Among the attacked houses included a single-storey house of Abdul Majid Lone at Sesal, a house of Mohammed Farooq, and a chemist shop of Shahdin Padyar.

“The owners have been restrained to transfer, lease out, dispose of, change its (property’s) nature or deal with the said property in any manner without the permission of police or the designated authority,“ a police notice read.

The three accused, the police believe, were involved in a grenade hurling incident at the Gool police post on August 2 last year.

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