J&K govt's move on data collection 'sinister'

J&K govt's move on data collection 'sinister'

J&K govt's move on data collection 'sinister'

A civil society group here on Wednesday termed the Jammu and Kashmir government’s move to collect data about geographical location, religious, sectarian and political affiliation of the population as an attempt to “divide the Valley on sectarian lines.”

Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), a Srinagar-based research and advocacy group, while taking a strong exception to the J&K Police’s move of mass profiling drive where citizens are asked to name their identity as per the “maslak” (sect) they follow, said, “It is a sinister design to divide people on deliberately created sectarian lines by a state, which prides on its secular credentials.”

“The choice of a maslak among Muslims is a matter of preference of following a particular legal school of Sharia rather than a different belief system and all our legal schools are equally respectable to all of us,”  Shakeel Qalandar, KCSDS spokesperson and a prominent businessman of the Valley told reporters here.

Reportedly after the Valley-specific survey the Jammu and Kashmir Police is planning to provide a ten-digit family identification number to every house.

 Sources said the survey also asks about “ONG coordinates” to get latitudinal and longitudinal location of the house. The police maintain that it has lost data during September 2014 floods, in Srinagar and other districts and the exercise is part collecting date about people.

 The police have said those who were not willing to provide sect wise details were free to do so.

The move to seek personal details—like ‘sect’ and ‘religion’—has come in for severe criticism from people who accuse the police department of “invading into our privacy and seeking irrelevant and fishy details.” Residents in Srinagar have called the police profiling a “direct intervention into our privacy.”