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SOURCE: AFI

An unannounced “Census” in Jammu and Kashmir has sparked concerns and confusion among residents. Security forces and police have been distributing a one-page form titled “Census Form” and “Village X Ray” in Srinagar, requesting extensive personal data beyond typical census questions.

This form goes beyond the usual name and phone number inquiries, delving into potentially sensitive territory. Residents are asked about alleged family ties to militancy, foreign travel history, precise property location (latitude-longitude), CCTV camera presence, and even if their home has been involved in security encounters.

This data collection isn’t limited to Srinagar. The Army and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have been tasked with similar information gathering across their operational areas in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu division. The lack of transparency surrounding the reasons for and the methodology of this exercise is fueling anxiety and speculation.

Residents have raised concerns about the use and potential misuse of such sensitive data. Questions surrounding data privacy, the lack of official notification, and the absence of clear explanations from authorities are adding to the unease.

While authorities maintain that the information is intended for “security purposes” and “protecting residents,” some see it as an intrusive profiling exercise that could have negative consequences for individuals and communities.

With no official clarification from the government and an absence of details about how the collected data will be used, the “Census” in Jammu and Kashmir remains shrouded in uncertainty. The potential benefits for security need to be carefully weighed against the concerns over privacy and individual rights.