Kashmir government's social media gag order on employees elicits hilarious response

 The Jammu and Kashmir government's social media gag order on its employees has sparked hilarious responses, including from 2009 IAS topper Shah Faesal, a frequent Facebook user known for airing his views on hotly-contested issues in the media.

Faesal, who updates his Facebook page with at least one post a day, reacted rather cheekily and vowed to speak in "coded" language now.

"From today, I will update in a coded language. Heard it that using Facebook will earn government employees 'tal-paet shalakh' (foot whipping)," Faesal wrote, triggering a barrage of funny and sarcastic reactions from his followers, including some in-service and retired people.

The government on Tuesday amended the conduct rules for employees and barred them from airing political views on personal social media accounts.

"They shall also not use their personal social media accounts for any political activity or endorse the posts or tweets or blogs of any political figure," the new rule states.

"The employees shall also not use their accounts in a manner that could reasonably be construed to imply that the government endorses or sanctions their personal activities in any manner whatsoever."

Shahzada Bilal, a senior government officer, warned Faesal and other employees that their noses will be chopped if they communicate "their conscience and mind" on social media.

"Khabar dhar hoshiyar:- Credible opinion has been invalidated. From today, if anyone writes a Facebook post as per their conscience and mind, their noses will be chopped off."

Bilal said a new syllabus has been issued for Facebook users in Kashmir which includes some Kashmiri nursery rhymes and cradle songs.

"Loktay moktay tarko, aechh watan mandh chhhan chhukhow; Bishte bishte brario khotkho wan, hukus bukus teli wan chhe kus," said Bilal, mentioning some Kashmiri cradle songs.

Asked by non Kashmiris to translate his post written in Kashmiri, Bilal said the order meant that employees now don't need to "think and write beyond twinkle twinkle little star".

Hawa Bashir, an ex principal of a government college, was thankful because the order didn't apply to retired employees.

Faesal jokingly wrote back: "It is for pensioners also!"

Altaf Wani, an employee at a Srinagar hospital, bade adieu to his Facebook followers with a last "salaam". "Hukm e hakim marg e mufajat," Wani wrote, likening government decrees to sudden deaths.

Well-known woman poet Naseem Shafaie wrote a one-word response "shoobekh" (serves them well).

Faesal warned her, again jokingly, that another circular was coming to gag poets.

Shafaie's wit didn't fail her. "We are no lesser. We will conduct poetic sessions only after studying relevant SROs (Statutory Rules and Orders). We can also cry like rudali," she said, referring to hired mourners or "female weepers". 

The celebrated IAS topper on a serious note and jokes apart wrote in another post that "government employees must observe a certain code of conduct while using social media".

"I mean good behaviour, nothing more. I have seen some teachers hurling invective, doctors abusing with freedom, officers getting into unsavoury arguments and engineers sharing indecent content much to everyone's embarassment. That is not acceptable. Even criticism has to be worded politely."


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