The Railway Police Force (RPF) has forbidden its personnel from putting up photos of themselves in uniform, as profile pictures on WhatsApp or Facebook. According to sources, the reason behind the dictum is to prevent anti-national elements from misusing such photos.
Indian Railway authorities also don't want their staff to submit photos in khaki while procuring mobile phone SIM cards. The office of the Director General of RPF sent out the circular to all RPF heads in India two days ago, a copy of which is with mid-day.
According to the circular, the "use of photos in official uniform by the force personnel to obtain mobile SIM cards, and also on Facebook and WhatsApp, may lead to misuse of their identity by anti-national elements".
RPF insiders said officers putting up photos of themselves in uniform is not uncommon, and therefore, the possibility of those photos being misused by miscreants cannot be ruled out.
"There are also police personnel who provide passport-sized photos while filling forms for SIM cards," said an RPF official, on condition of anonymity.
This practice, apparently, hasn't gone down well with senior officials in New Delhi, who now want their men to remove their pictures in uniform from social media. The RPF staff, however, is of the opinion that security features on social networking sites could be strengthened instead to stop an unknown person from accessing the images.