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September 3, 2000
Hizb 'bans' J&K census
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
The Hizbul Mujahideen has banned the second phase of census in the Kashmir valley scheduled to begin from September 11. In a statement, the Hizb asked the government to 'call off the ongoing census in the state'.
The organisation said, "In the prevailing situation, there is no possibility of a 'fair and credible census' in the Kashmir valley."
Terming the census as a 'conspiracy against the majority community', the Hizb said that a 'large population of the valley has migrated to Jammu and other parts of India'. "Thousands of people have either gone underground as a result of excesses or have crossed over to Pakistan occupied Kashmir," it added.
"Thousands are missing and in jails," the Hizb said in the statement adding, "holding census in such conditions is a futile exercise."
The Hizbul Mujahideen which had in July announced a unilateral ceasefire, which was later withdrawn, appealed Sunday to people in the valley 'not to co-operate with the officials deployed by the government for the census in Kashmir'.
The Hizb also asked government employees to dissociate themselves from the census and threatened them of serious consequences.
However, Feroze Ahmad, the director (census), Jammu and Kashmir, hoped that the second phase of the census will also be completed. "The first stage has been completed. The second phase of collecting individual particulars, head counting, education, employment, age and other related details will begin on September 11." He said that the second phase is important and will be completed within 20 days.
"The decision to provide security following the threat will be taken by the government," he added.
"In the prevailing situation, it is difficult to perform our duties. We worked hard in the first phase but everybody knows the situation has deteriorated in past one month" said a government employee.
A police officer admitted that providing security to the 22,000 employees was a difficult task. "But we will discuss the issue threadbare and steps will be taken to complete the census," he said.
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