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ID check drive stokes ‘kagaz’ fears in Ggn; cops say ‘routine’ exercise

January 24, 2020 06:53 AM

COURTESY TIMESOF INDIA JAN 24ID check drive stokes ‘kagaz’ fears in Ggn; cops say ‘routine’ exercise


“Kagaz” (document) has become a feared word this week in many of Gurgaon’s slums, tenement clusters and colonies. Over the last seven days, police teams have gone door to door in many of these areas, asking people to furnish photo identity proof documents.

Police officers called it a “routine” exercise to detect illegal immigrants before Republic Day. Such exercises aren’t uncommon. But in an environment where talk of a National Register of Citizens has led to protests and paranoia, a sense of panic has crept into slum clusters and colonies inhabited by construction workers, domestic helps and people engaged in small jobs that keep the wheels of urban life moving.

The current operation’s scale is also bigger than any in recent times. Police say they have checked the documents of 1,500 people, and found no “illegals” so far. And as the checks continue, panic has started to drive some away already. A woman who worked in various households and lived in a DLF 2 slum till recently said she had returned to home to West Bengal, even though that would compromise her earnings.

Cops check residents’ ID papers at a Gurgaon colony

‘Kagaz’ drive in Ggn from dawn to 8am

We may return after some time when the matter gets settled,” she said over the phone, on condition of anonymity.

The “combing operation” has been conducted mostly between 4am and 8am in areas such as Tigra, Islampur, Samaspur, Ghasola, Saraswati Kunj and adjoining areas. Identity document of people were also checked in two settlements known as “Bengali slums”, one behind D-block of South City and the other near Roosewood City. “The drive is being conducting in the early morning hours because most people are at home at that time,” said DCP (east) Chander Mohan, adding they were only checking documents.

While some officers privately admitted that the check wasn’t foolproof because documents like voter IDs were available with virtually everyone, other senior officers said there was no need for panic. “People who have documents and who are not involved in any criminal activities have nothing to fear,” said a police officer.

Police commissioner Muhammad Akil said there was a request from Delhi Police to be alert and such drives had in the past led police to various suspects. “This is precautionary exercise conducted before Republic Day celebration every year. We are close to Delhi, so there is a need to be extra careful for security purposes,” Akil told TOI.

BJP leader Jawahar Yadav, former officer on special duty to the CM, said such drives were standard procedure. “Such drives are not related to any government or party. It is related to security based on intelligence inputs,” said Yadav, adding such checks had been happening for years.

Arun Yadav, chief of Haryana BJP’s IT cell, added, “We should not read too much into it. Whether by BJP or Congress governments, exercises like these have been conducted before Republic Day for security reasons. Gurgaon is close to the airport and the national capital, so it is necessary to be alert.” Yadav added that in the present scenario, there was a need for police to be even more careful

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