February 2002 News

Tamper-proof ID cards for J&K border residents

17 February 2002
The Statesman

Jammu: To ensure that infiltrators from Pakistan don’t get mixed with people living along the International Border and the Line of Control in Jammu, the crime and railway department of J&K Police has started providing identity cards to the villagers living in the 10-km border belt. With the issuance of these tamper-proof identity cards, the police hope to check the movement of Pakistani infiltrators and terrorists besides cross-border smuggling to a large extent. Mr Masud Choudhary, IG (crime & railways), J&K Police, told The Statesman that about three to four lakh identity cards would be issued to the villagers in the border belt from Kathua to Chicken sector. Initially, the department intends to cover all the male members living in the border belt. Women and children have been, for the time being, exempted from possessing such cards. As a population of around 10 lakh lives in the border area, the department would later try to get cards for every one in the state, Mr Choudhary said. The border resident were themselves demanding issuance of such cards to ensure their unrestricted movement, he said. Such residents had to undergo a series of security checks while moving from village to village, especially in the border areas of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region. So far, approximately 2.5 lakh such identity cards have been issued to the people concerned, while about three lakh cards are in the process of being issued in the radius of five km on the LoC as result of the extended exercise. “The identity cards are designed such that they cannot be easily replicated,” he said. Each card will have a code number at its top and will carry the photograph, address and other particulars of the villager. These cards will be issued by the DSP or in some areas by the deputy SPs after proper verification by the police. Village sarpanchs would help in the verification. A photographer from crime branch will photograph the villagers and the police authorities will properly maintain record of the identity cards, he added. By possessing the card, a villager can move around without any hindrance in the border villages. Mr Choudhary said the system would also help the police in spotting persons of doubtful credentials. “It will go a long way in reducing the level of cross- border infiltration of terrorists,” he said. The issuance of the cards will also relieve the Army of some pressure as now they have to keep a strict vigil on such people who cross over from across the border and mix with the local populace.


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