Valley News Desk

NewDelhi, November 09: Jammu and Kashmir Police on Sunday rescinded its earlier order asking house owners in pre-dominantly Muslim-inhabited areas here to give details of their family members as well as tenants.
In a video message on social media, IGP (Jammu) Mukesh Singh said he has come across apprehensions among people in Bhatindi and Sunjwan areas regarding a verification exercise and admitted that it “is asking for more data than that is required”. Allying apprehensions, he said the Jammu SSP “has been asked to immediately rectify the format” which he claimed is meant for tenant verification in the “entire Jammu district”.

Police had circulated two forms in the areas — one for tenants and the other concerning “houseowner verification”. Trouble arose as police knocked at the doorsteps to collect details of house owners and family members, besides tenants.

Sheikh Shakeel, a senior advocate, said collecting details of tenants is understandable due to the law and order scenario but referred to the Supreme Court judgment on privacy to object to collection of details of family members. He asked how the details, which are already with the government in one form or another, will not land in the wrong hands.

A resident of Bhatindi questioned the door-to-door exercise saying details of tenants are required to be submitted at the police station as per norms.

When contacted, Jammu SSP Shridhar Patil admitted that house owners usually submit details of tenants themselves but police had started the verification drive as the same had not been done in many cases ahead of the opening of offices after the durbar move on Monday. “We are looking into the matter,” he said about the form on details of house owners, adding that field officials have been instructed to confine their exercise to collection of tenants’ details.

A police officer, who did not wish to be named, said it was the special operations group of the J&K Police that was collecting all the details of house owners, including GPS locations of their property.
Even the BJP objected to the exercise. The party’s chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi said “it was improper and we request the administration to stop it immediately”. (IndianExpress)