Administration claims no official intimation
Bandipora: The Army is conducting door-to-door surveys in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, say the area’s residents. Locals say they have seen Army men from 14 RR of the Kharpora camp and Kaloosa camp conducting the survey in areas of Bandipora main town and surrounding villages.
The survey is said to have started some days back and was carried out in Dachigam, ITI Road, Plan and other areas.
The locals said conducted the survey on an individual basis, asking for minute information on all persons from each house. “From collecting names and professions, the army is recording phone numbers too, besides marking each house visited with paint,” they said.
The locals’ claims have invoked insecurity and a sense of fear in the area. Reports reaching Kashmir Reader said similar surveys were also being conducted in other Bandipora villages. Residents of Nusoo, Bandipora, claimed that a similar survey had been held there a month ago. They said the police had not assisted the survey and that only a civilian in plain clothes was seen with the army men.
Kashmir Reader made inquiries about the man in civilian clothes who was said to have accompanied the army. When contacted, he spoke on condition of anonymity to claim “the survey is being conducted by the government of India to see how many youths are unemployed in each house”. The army corroborated his statement.
The district administration, however, said that they were not aware of any such survey happening in Bandipora, as they had not been informed of any such by either the army or the police. Deputy commissioner, Bandipora, Sajad Ganaie said he would confirm if any such survey were happening in the area and that he would accordingly “talk to the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) to know if they were assisting the army”.
SSP Bandipora, Zulfikar Ali said that “nothing was happening, and even if the survey is happening, police is assisting them”. He refused to talk further on the matter.
Army spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia said when that he would first want “the clearance from specific area officers and would ask them what the survey was about”. He sought details of the areas where the surveys were happening.
Surveys, though, claim the locals, have also happened in the past and were more rigorous.
Pertinently, the recent survey comes after the amendment in the Statistical Act, a bill passed in the Rajya Sabha on July 29 this year. The amendment gave the Government of India the right to access all types of data in Jammu and Kashmir because it is a “disturbed area”. It thus mandates the police, paramilitary and armed forces to “provide such assistance as would be required by the concerned statistics officer”.
The district’s statistical officer, too, had no information about the survey and said that many such surveys remained off the department’s radar.
The amendment has also overridden the state’s own statistical act, the Jammu and Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010, under which the J&K government carries out its statistical surveys.