Invasion of Privacy Forces take photographs at check points in Srinagar

After recording personal information and mobile phone numbers of commuters, the forces are now taking picture of commuters randomly at various checkpoints in Srinagar.

The move is causing inconvenience to commuters, who have termed it “invasion of privacy”.
One of the commuters, Mohammad Arshid (name changed) said he was travelling in his car when forces personnel signalled him to stop near Bakhshi Stadium.

“They checked my identity card also took my photograph before letting me go,” he said.
He said he is worried that his picture should not be misused.
The force personnel were also conducting checking of commuters at Nowgam Chowk, Munnarwabad Bridge and court road, Lal Chowk besides other major locations in the city.

Some of commuters passing through these checkpoints complained that force personnel clicked their pictures.
The makeshift bunkers and checkpoints had re-emerged at various sensitive locations in the city and its suburbs last year.
The bunkers have also been setup at Athwajan, Pantha Chowk Bypass and Lasjan peaks, which are the entry points of Srinagar for travellers from south Kashmir—the epicentre of young militants.
At these check points, forces stop vehicles and record personal information including contact numbers of drivers or owners.
The force personnel have also established check points at Bakhshi Stadium and near Court Road, where they randomly check vehicles during the wee and night hours.
The presence of makeshift bunkers at various sensitive locations in the city is seen as reminiscent of tumultuous 1990s when militancy was at its peak in Valley.
In 1990s these bunkers served as major defence to prevent militants from attacking security establishments. However, compared to 1990s, when thousands of militants were active in the Valley, only few hundred militants are active now.
Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh recently admitted that these checkpoints cause certain amount of inconvenience to people.
In his January 2 press conference, Singh had admitted that these checkpoints cause some amount of congestion on the roads.
“But, as I said that if it is in the interest of people then we all have to bear with it till we get better situation,” he had said adding, “We will try to cause as little as possible inconvenience to people.”
A senior police officer privy to security arrangements said the checkpoints are normal regulatory means to keep away “unscrupulous and anti-national elements”.
“These are regulations and we have our own standing procedure to deal with it,” he said.
About taking pictures of travellers by forces, the police officer said, “It is not in our knowledge. However, if something like this is taking place, we will convey to forces to be sensitive with the people”.
javid@risingkashmir.com