Repeated ‘surveys’ by army in Bijbehara irk residents

Repeated ‘surveys’ by army in Bijbehara irk residents
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Civil admin, police not taken onboard

Anantnag: Residents of Bijbehara town here are irked with repeated “surveys” conducted by army personnel, who are neither accompanied by police nor by civil officials.
The civil administration has expressed ignorance over the issue, saying it was security related and they were not taken onboard.
Police are calling it an “area domination” exercise by the army.
According to locals, army personnel have been visiting after regular intervals to different localities of the town and have been collecting data from every family residing in the area.
“They take names of every member of the household, phone numbers, information about professions and vehicles owned by the family,” a resident told Kashmir Reader.
The locals allege that the army personnel have been visiting after every month to collect the data afresh, “or revise the data that is already with them,”
“Only yesterday I asked an army man why they are visiting regularly and he replied that they come to see if any one new was born in the area,” another local told Kashmir Reader, “I was perplexed and disgusted with the reply,”
The army men have also numbered the houses in the town with black paint, for reasons better known to them.
“They have also been carrying GPS machines and are recording the coordinates of the household they visit and collect other data from,” the locals told Kashmir Reader.
The local residents complained that the army men come during the day while the men of the household are out working, putting the women folk to utter discomfort as they have to face the visiting army men.
“What adds to the discomfort is the fact that they are not being accompanied by any policemen or any one from the civil administration,” the locals alleged.
This allegation of the locals was ascertained by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Bijbehara as well as the local Station House Officer (SHO).
The SDM, Abdul Rashid Das, told Kashmir Reader that he was not aware of any such survey.
“We have not been intimated about any such thing. This must be a security related issue,” Das said.
The SHO, Anzar Khan, on the other hand acknowledged that the army was carrying out these surveys for the purpose of area domination.
“No, policemen are not being taken along by the army,” Khan told Kashmir Reader.
An army officer contacted by Kashmir Reader said the exercise was meant for “regular updation of records” in the area.
“We conduct interactions and for that we need local data about the prominent citizens in the area. The data is maintained and updated regularly,” the officer said.