Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police have begun a fresh profiling of households in some areas of Srinagar and Budgam districts. Senior police officials claimed that this was part of a routine exercise to help the department keep an eye on criminals and miscreants.
According to residents of such areas, sleuths of the police department have started visiting houses in Natipora, Nowgam, BK Pora, Chanapora, Lasjan and Pantha Chowk areas to collect details of residents.
“They are seeking details about the age and occupation of family members, apart from the number of persons living in a particular dwelling,” said a resident of BK Pora in Budgam.
Residents of Lasjan told Kashmir Reader that similar door-to-door profiling was going on in their area. They expressed apprehensions that the police may use the information to harass youth who take part in street protests.
A resident of the area at Nowgam Bypass said that a policeman in civvies came to his house and introduced himself as an official of the Census Department. He said that the area’s residents came to know later that the man was from the police, when a youth asked for his identity card.
“If the profiling is part of routine policing, then why policemen are not introducing themselves?” the resident asked.
“The way the sleuths of police are concealing their identity, it will create a rift between police and public. People won’t cooperate in such circumstances,” said a management student who lives in Nowgam.
As per sources, the exercise has been undertaken particularly in areas which have seen an increase in crime rate and are considered as notorious for street protests.
“Efforts are being made to keep a check on tenants living in rented homes to ensure that outside elements are unable to establish a base in the city,” they said.
An official in the police department told Kashmir Reader that the data will help the department in finding out the status of unemployment among youth living in these areas, so that police recruitment drives can be better focused.
“There were complaints in the past that some areas benefited more from the police’s on-spot recruitment drives. The door-to-door data collection will help us have a clear idea about an area and its employment graph,” he said.
Kashmir Range Inspector General of Police SP Pani said on the issue, “It is part of routine policing and community-driven exercise to maintain the Beat Book of a particular area. It helps police to ensure peace and security of citizens.”
He said the exercise was part of the police manual, meant to ensure better police-public cooperation and check the crime rate.
“Such exercise is part of policing in New Delhi and New York also. We are doing nothing wrong. But in the past some people called it a ‘Census’, which is not right. Census department has different work and we do a different kind of work,” he said.
The IGP said that the door-to-door information collection had helped the department in controlling different kinds of crime in many areas.
“We ensure that there are no criminal elements living in the residential areas in the disguise of tenants and guests,” he said.