In a move that smacks of a strong regional bias, police in Goa have directed Kashmiris living in the state's tourism pockets to report to police stations for the purpose of verification.
Hundreds of Kashmiris reside in and around the coastal resort town of Colva, and trade in carpets and trinkets. They were on Wednesday directed to visit nearby police stations and furnish their residential, business and personal details.
The verification drive comes a few days after the terror strikes in Mumbai, which seem to have put the police into an overdrive.
"This is not the first time we are carrying out this drive. We will send the details back to Jammu and Kashmir and verify their antecedents," Dharmesh Angle, inspector in charge of the Colva police station, told IANS.
Another police official said several Kashmiris indulged in the narcotics trade and the routes and contacts used to smuggle in contraband products could easily be tapped by a terrorist network.
"The numerous arrests of Kashmiris involved in drug trade by the Goa Police Anti Narcotics Cell is reflective of their involvement. This verification drive is a means to keeping their movements and identities in check," he claimed.
Besides Colva, other areas like Calangute have a high density of Kashmiris who travel to Goa during the tourist season for the purpose of trade.
"There are traders from other states who come to Goa too for the season. Why are they not being made a part of these verification drives?" asked a 36-year-old Kashmiri who runs a Tibetan artefact stall near the Calangute market.
According to police records, nearly 4,000 Kashmiris visit Goa every season for tourism related trade.