Rafiabad: A door-to-door ‘survey’ led by the Indian army is going on in the villages of Rafiabad constituency in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district. And the police and civil administration apparently have not been informed.
Local youths are accusing the army of harassment, alleging that their identity cards are being snatched and they are asked to report to the camp in the evening hours to collect them.
Residents of Chatluro village in Rafiabad said the soldiers of RR battalion of Seelu camp arrived in the area on April 5 and started a door-to-door survey in which they took all the details of families living here. “They inquired about our family size, names of family members, phone numbers, occupations and even the number of cattle sheds we have. We don’t have a clue why they are doing this,” a resident said, on condition of anonymity.
A local youth, Faraz (name changed), who went through the process of getting his card back, told Kashmir Reader he was standing on the road side with his friends when the army called them over. “They searched us and took our identity cards and directed us to come to the army camp in the evening hours to collect the cards. At first, I didn’t reveal this to my parents as I thought they might get worried. Later, when I and many of my friends left our village to get our identity cards back, they (army) made wait for hours and at last gave back our identity cards on the condition that if we come to know of any ‘movement or activities’ in our area we will inform them. They took our mobile phone numbers too. They are doing this for the last one week; around 30-to 40 boys were directed to do the same, to come to the camp to collect the cards which the army took away.”
The sarpanch of this area, Ghulam Mohiuddin Bhat, told Kashmir Reader that as the officer (a major) of that camp was on leave, a ‘new captain was doing this survey’. “I came to know from others that he is taking the cards of the boys of our village and asking them to report at the camp. There are many cards which are still with the army as the boys don’t dare to visit the camp. When I visited the DSP of our locality in view of this situation, the army stopped coming here, but yesterday they again visited our village. We don’t know why they are doing this survey and who has given them permission to do so.”
Meanwhile, when Kashmir Reader contacted the SSP of Sopore, Harmeet Singh, he said that he “had no idea about this survey”. The SDM of Sopore, Bashir Ahmad, too said that he “doesn’t know anything about this survey”. The Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Mrs Yasha Mudgal, did not respond to calls from Kashmir Reader.
A similar survey was conducted by the army in Budgam locality last month, which was reported by this newspaper.