BUDGAM: Residents in several villages of Budgam district allege that Indian Army was conducting a household survey. Several families reported that troopers visited them seeking information about number of members, age, occupation, and even relatives.
Outraged by the door-to-door survey, residents say the exercise “breached their privacy”. They say that the survey was making them anxious.
“Troopers have been coming and asking minute details such as the number of family members, their names, occupation, age, gender, contact and such. They go village after village in the area,” said a resident of Nagbal area of Khag in Budgam district.
The troopers put a sign on the door of the house after gathering the information. Villagers in Nagbal and Lawahipora area of Khag said that the army not only conducted a survey of households, they also collected information from schools in these villages. A villager said that troopers recorded details of teachers.
“I was alone in the house when some army men came and questioned me about the family. I was shocked to see the army asking me the name of my neonatal kid,” said a lady, wishing not to be named.
Security agencies are known to conduct such drives in civilian areas close to their camps over the past three decades. Rashtriya Rifles troopers deployed in north Kashmir’s Bandipora conducted a similar exercise, offending the villagers in the area.
Col A K Nayar of 53-RR, when contacted, said, “I am out of station these days and I am not staying in valley.” He said that he had no idea about the survey.
Budgam deputy commissioner as well as the army spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia didn’t respond to calls.
However, Station House Officer Khag, Mohammad Aslam told Kashmir Reader that he has no knowledge about the survey. He, however, added that army conducts such surveys in the proximities of their installations.
“The army maintains a general record of people living around camps and it is updated regularly. It is being done in consultation with the civil administration. The survey helps when something (untoward) happens,” he said.