Rajya Sabha Member Demoted for Social Media Posts against Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Social media PM Modi
PM Narendra Modi addressed the nation in the wake of Covid-19

In yet another clampdown on freedom of speech and expression, the target this time is a parliamentarian. Deputy Director (Security) Urujul Hasan has been demoted to a lower grade by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat for a period of five years. He is said to have violated the rule of political neutrality. After the disciplinary proceedings against him, there will be no increments in his salary for the next five years. He will not be able to reassume this position once the period is over. This is the first time that such an action has been taken against a parliamentarian for their social media activity. 

Hasan was found guilty of sharing “offensive, derogatory, demeaning and sarcastic posts” against the PM and some other Union as well as Chief Ministers. In accordance with Rajya Sabha Service Rules, 1957 and Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, government servants are not allowed to engage in any activity that is unbecoming of them. Their involvement in political activities is also prohibited.  

Zero tolerance for dissent

In times when children can be detained for protesting, and a school can be charged for sedition for a play, such punishment is not surprising. One, these are signs of a surveillance state where nothing is hidden from the government. From personal telephonic conversations to social media posts, everything is under the eyes of the state. We all have become data. 

Every criticism levelled against the policies of the government is immediately labelled as anti-national. Freedom of speech and expression is under threat. Dissent in any form is immediately curbed now in more brutal ways – sedition charges, arrests, detention, baton charge, torture. Curbs on the fundamental freedoms of either parliamentarians or citizens is unbecoming of a democratic state. 

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