SRINAGAR: Budgam deputy commissioner Altaf Mir corroborated on Thursday a Kashmir Reader report about population profiling being carried out by the army in Baghat Kanipora area of the district, a report which has been rejected as baseless by a defence spokesman.
While Kashmir Reader had reported about the survey in Chak village of Baghat Kanipora Tehsil, an inquiry report submitted by the Tehsildar to the deputy commissioner says that the survey had been conducted in as many as 80% of the villages in the Tehsil during the past 10 months.
Army’s counterinsurgency wing, Rashtriya Rifles, which carried out the survey, has now said that it will stop the survey, according to Mir.
While carrying out the survey, the army had informed neither the police nor the district administration. People were asked about family members’ details, phone numbers, occupation, etc., and told that the information was needed as it “comes handy in times of natural disasters like floods”.
This is what Srinagr-based spokesman of the army, Lt Col NN Joshi, had said about the survey:
“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.”
After Kashmir Reader published the story, Mir had asked a report from the Tehsildar concerned.
Mir told Kashmir Reader that the report has found that army had conducted the survey without the information of the district administration and police.
“We have contacted the army. They told us they will not extend the survey to any area. But since they had neither informed civil administration nor police, I took up the issue with DIG police central Kashmir who is further inquiring about the survey,” Mir said.
Baghat Kanipora Tehsildar Abdul Bafeer told Kashmir Reader that during inquiry, a numberdar of a village told him that an army officer had called him and informed that the soldiers will be conducting a survey in his village.
When Lt Col Joshi was told about the Tehsildar’s inquiry report and asked whether army units have been carrying out these surveys without informing the higher authorities, he said, “Last week I told you because no norms allow army to conduct a survey. I am neither privy to the tehsildar’s report nor the survey. But I will see where and why was this survey conducted. I will let you know accordingly.”