Census To Begin In Jammu And Kashmir Amidst Tight Security
10 September 2000
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: The census in Jammu and Kasmir would begin from tomorrow amidst high security after militants'' threats to disrupt the process that is being undertaken after a gap of 20 years. The projected population is expected to cross 10 million against 5 million of 1981 when the last census was conducted in the State. The security forces have been put on full alert. The police and other forces have been asked to sanitize the areas to facilitate the census staff to carry out work. The Hizb-ul Mujahadeen, a formidable militant outfit, has twice in the past one week issued threats to census officials against undertaking the task. The outfit has said that a fair and genuine census is not possible when a number of people are in jails and left the state. The outfit fears that the Muslims would lose their majority status in the State. Former Union Minister Saifuddin Soz has also opposed the census. According to him, the Muslim population in the state had shown a declining trend over the years. Investigations made by this reporter reveal that in the past the census staff never went to rural areas. They relied on the data supplied by the village or community heads. Director of census operation Feroz Ahmad said this time the method is more scientific and flawless. The house numbering has already been done. Now only the head counting would be done.