Jammu and Kashmir Police on Sunday decided to rectify its earlier order that sought the details from house owners on their family members and tenants in pre-dominantly Muslim-inhabited areas. The police had sought details such as the Global Positioning System location, photos of the houses and the details and the mobile numbers of every family member, The Hindu reported.
In a video message, Inspector General of Police (Jammu) Manoj Kumar said people from Bhatindi and Sunjwan areas of Jammu were expressing apprehensions regarding the verification exercise. “It has been asking for more data than required,” he admitted. “SSP Jammu [senior superintendent of police] has been asked to immediately rectify the format. The format is primarily meant for tenant verification.” Kumar said the tenant verification was for the entire Jammu district.
In the past two days, the verification forms were distributed in Muslim-majority regions of Sunjwan, Gujjar Nagar and Bathindi. The police had circulated two forms in the areas – one for tenants and the other concerning “house owner verification”, according to The Indian Express.
Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed, a prominent Jammu advocate, said the forms have induced anxiety among the local residents as the details sought not heard of earlier. “It seeks pictures of the owner of a house, family members and age,” the advocate said. “Beside asking for mobile numbers, it seeks information on how old the construction is and the place of migration.”
Ahmed said the form further sought details of the vehicles owned by the house owners and their numbers. “The surveyors are taking photos of the house and seeking details of GPS [Global Positioning Syestem] location,” he said. “To establish identity, it seeks papers of the driving licence, PAN [Permanent Account Number] card, Aadhaar, voter card etc from the house owners.”
The advocate said people were ready to provide the information of the tenants but added that the details sought of the family and the property violated their right to privacy as upheld by the Supreme Court. Ahmed asked how can it be guaranteed that the details, which the government already has in one form or another, will not land in the wrong hands.
Jammu Senior Superintendent of Police Shridhar Patil said that house owners would usually submit details of the tenants themselves. However, he added that police began the verification exercise as many had not done the same.
“We are looking into the matter [of seeking details of house owners],” he said, adding that field officials have been told to limit to collecting the details of the tenants. An unidentified police official told The Indian Express that a special operations group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police were seeking the details of the owners.