Army surveys Budgam locality, administration unaware
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Chak: The Indian army’s counterinsurgency Rashtriya Rifles has carried out a door-to-door survey in an upcoming colony in central Kashmir’s Budgam district without informing the police and civil administration.
The residents in Muslimabad area in Baghat-Kanipora tehsil of Budgam said that the soldiers of an RR battalion recorded details of the residents and marked every surveyed house with a number on March 23.
The sparsely populated Muslimabad colony is situated about 10 kilometres from Jehangir Chowk.
Residents told Kashmir Reader that a group of RR soldiers arrived in the area on March 23 (Wednesday) to document details of each household in the area.
“They inquired about our family size, names of family members, phone numbers and occupations and jotted down each minute detail. We don’t know what their purpose was?” a resident said, wishing anonymity.
“When we inquired about the survey, the soldiers said that the information comes handy in case of emergencies like floods,” he said.
The soldiers painted numbers in black on the gates or walls of the surveyed houses.
Deputy Commissioner Budgam Altaf Mir said that the army has conducted the survey without seeking permission from the civilian authorities.
“I will inquire about the survey. The soldiers did not inform the civilian administration on the survey,” Mir told Kashmir Reader.
Prominent lawyer and former additional advocate general Vishal Sharma said that army cannot conduct any survey without the consent of the state administration.
“Army has to take permission from the district administration prior to conducting any survey. If granted, it should be accompanied by police personnel from the local police station,” Sharma, who has represented the state’s home department in higher courts, said.
The army, on its part, denied having conducted any such survey.
Spokesman of the Ministry of Defence in Srinagar Lt Col NN Joshi said no such survey has been conducted in Muslimabad area of Budgam.
“It is totally baseless. If any such thing has happened, the locals should have filed complaint in the police station. They did not do it and now they have asked you to become their messiah,” Joshi said.
Muslimabad is an extension of Chak area in Budgam district. A few years ago, the local residents said, the army had conducted a similar survey.
“At that time we were told that the survey was being conducted for development of the area. Many years have passed since then but we have not seen any development,” said another resident of the colony.