On 26th December, an order was put out by the Governorâ€™s office barring the government employees from posting updates on social media sites that are found â€œprejudicialâ€ to the government. Through SRO 525, an amendment was made in the Jammu & Kashmir Government Employees Conduct Rules, 1971.
The gubernatorial edit evinced a widespread criticism not only in Kashmir but elsewhere as well. Having already come under heavy criticism for its tumultuous tenure that is filled with many unpleasant events, this order doesnâ€™t reflect well on the government and its policies in Kashmir. Having already drawn a lot of flak for putting restriction on media and muzzling dissident democratic voices, this social media gag against its own employees abundantly exposes the failures of the coalition government. A government that cannot trust its own employees, let alone others. A government that knows even the state employees arenâ€™t happy with it and hence deserve to be gagged.
The bigwigs running the government here in Kashmir and those at the helm in New Delhi need to understand that if they smother voices here in Kashmir, including those of the government employees, it will only increase the anger and frustration that can pour out at any time in a manner that can be hard to control. This order fraught with peril smacks of shortsightedness, intolerance and an absolute lack of wisdom. State employees are eyes and ears and support system of the government and if there is distrust between the two, the ruling coalition doesnâ€™t deserve to stay in power. By issuing harsh and undemocratic edicts like these, the government is only exposing itself.
SRO 525 has become a butt of jokes and the social networking sites are awash with jokes. Even many government employees, circumspect and subtle in their expression though, are ridiculing the order. At a time when the government of the day has nothing to show off except its failures and their cover-ups, an SRO like this isnâ€™t going to do its cause any good. In fact, what is needed is to earn the trust of the people rather than pushing them further towards the wall, in which case the only option left with them is to react, which is something the government canâ€™t afford having failed on every front.