Jammu & Kashmir

‘Asalamulaikum Janab, mein 21 hun’: Omar slams JK Admin’s move to introduce unique family codes

Omar Abdullah addressing a media gathering in Dooru Anantnag on Dec 13, 2022. [FPK Photo/ Qayoom Khan]

Anantnag: National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said that media professionals of Kashmir live in constant fear as they don’t know when they mistakenly write a wrong word and eventually land in jail.

The former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir was addressing party workers in Dooru area of Anantnag district in south Kashmir.

Reacting to the recent announcement that unique alpha-numeric numbers will be provided to each family, Omar termed the move strange.

“The strange orders are being passed by the JK administration; today they [administration] says a new identification number will be introduced. Each family will get a unique number, for what,” Omar asked.

He said Kashmiris are being asked to provide Aadhar numbers, then orders were passed for PAN numbers, voter IDs, and now the residents are being asked for household numbers. “Thid happens nowhere in India,” he said.

He said people are known by their names, like Syeds, Wanis, Abdullahs. In Kashmir, people will be known by numbers.

“He is 15, he is 17, he is 18, I am 20. Now we will not be identified by our names but by numbers,” he said.

slamming the order, Omar said, “We will have to be present in the government department and introduce ourselves by our unique numbers. Asalamulaikum Jenab, mein 21, hun”.

“Is this what is being planned by the authorities, is this how you are trying to remove our existence, we thought you were only after our flag and special status,” he said. “Now, it’s proved that you are trying to remove our identification too”.

Earlier at a function in Katra in Reasi district, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar announced that the administration is planning create an authentic database of all families across JK with each of them having a unique alpha-numeric code.

The proposed move to allot “Family ID” has been welcomed by the BJP but panned by other parties which raised concerns over personal data safety.

The official document, said, “Each family will be provided with a unique alpha-numeric code called JK Family ID. The data available in the family database would be used to determine eligibility through automatic selection of beneficiaries for receiving social benefits.”

“The database would identify each and every family in JK and would collect the basic data of the family, provided with the consent of the family, in a digital format.” The document further reads that all the applicable laws and regulations in respect of data protection shall be complied with in the management of data.

However, the Congress, National Conference, and the PDP slammed the proposed move.

Congress chief spokesperson and former legislator Ravinder Sharma questioned the administration,s intention and also its capacity to protect such digital databases from cyber attacks.

“Why does the government wish to peek into everything? They already have enough data through Aadhaar and are providing benefits through direct bank transfer (DBT) mode,” Sharma said.

Referring to cyber attacks by Chinese entities and ransomware attack on the AIIMS servers, he said in such a situation, the protection of personal data of the people is a major challenge.

National Conference provincial president Rattan Lal Gupta termed the exercise an “unproductive use of resources”.

“They already have a database of every individual because of Aadhaar. So, creating another database is not fruitful…the administration is keeping the staff busy with data collection while people are left devoid of basic facilities,” he said.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) asked who the government wanted to identify through this database.

“There are a lot of problems in J&K which the government ignores. Now, who the government is trying to identify through this database?” PDP leader Virendra Singh Sonu said.

Mehbooba said that the plan to create unique IDs for all families in Jammu and Kashmir is another “surveillance tactic to tighten the iron grip” on the lives of Kashmir residents.

She alleged that the people of Kashmir are viewed with deep suspicion and the proposed plan is “emblematic of the widening trust deficit”, especially after 2019, the year Article 370 providing special status to Jammu and Kashmir was abrogated.

She said that creating ‘a unique family ID’ for J&K residents is emblematic of the widening trust deficit especially post 2019.

“Kashmiris are viewed with deep suspicion & this is another surveillance tactic to tighten the iron grip on their lives,” Mehbooba Mufti said in a tweet.

However, the BJP welcomed the move and said the people who have to stand in queues to get various benefits and certificates will benefit once a verified database is prepared.


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