Separatist leaders across Srinagar have criticised an ongoing survey by police in the city, asking people to fill a form detailing their religion, sect and whether the family has a militant or separatist link.
The form that Hindustan Times accessed from the Haba Kadal area of downtown Srinagar reveals that the information asked includes: details of all family members with age, occupation, educational qualifications, mobile numbers, worth of the house, vehicles or shops owned by the family other than their religion and militant links.
Speaking to HT, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the Valley’s head cleric and senior separatist leader, said, “Religion and sect are a private matter. I do not understand what business the police have in knowing such things. I feel it’s an effort to further fragmentise the Kashmiri society.”
“The survey which started a month back was a low key affair, starting at areas like Abi Guzar near Lal Chowk. Now, the survey is being spread and conducted in newer areas,” said a resident of Haba Kadal area of the city, who has filled the form, on the condition of anonymity.
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has urged people to write just ‘Muslim’ in the column instead of specifying the sect details.
Another form that Hindustan Times had accessed from the Rainwari area of the city and reported on in December did not mention ‘militant/separatist’ link. This form had asked residents to fill in the name of family members and mention what they expect of the police force, apart from the caste, religion and family member details. They were also asked to write about any experience they had had with policemen.
When HT asked Kashmir inspector general of police SJM Gillani on Thursday about the survey, he said, “We have nothing to say about it”.
The police have been downplaying the survey, saying that it is a “routine measure” to update the “basic data” across Srinagar, especially after much of the data was washed away in the 2014 floods.
The police also said that many of the ‘complicated’ details will be filled up by the policemen themselves.