May 2000 News

ID cards for J&K border residents

31 May 2000
The Statesman
Vinay Jha

New Delhi: The government will issue identity cards to residents within a five-kilometre stretch of the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir, so that intruders can be identified. Work on issuing the cards is expected to begin soon. Intelligence reports say the release of Hurriyat leaders and the proposed talks have made militant outfits apprehensive. They are trying to push in a large number of mercenaries to foment trouble in the state. The Rs 2-crore project follows the issuing of identity cards to shepherds, who have begun moving their livestock to higher reaches for grazing. Identity cards for residents in areas close to the border will make ?the task of the three-tier security ring along the Indo-Pak border a lot simpler as ?strangers? can be identified?, a home ministry official said. The expenses of the exercise have been provided for by the Union budget. ?Each card, with distinctive features to ensure against forgery, will cost approximately Rs 15,? an official said. The project is likely to be complete by the end of the year. The government is also preparing to finally begin fencing the 198-km stretch of international border in the state. Border fencing was taken up by the Central Public Works Department about four years ago, but firing and shelling from the Pakistani side hampered work. This time, a paramilitary force or the Army itself is expected to be entrusted with the task. The government hopes the ID-cards will do the trick till fencing is complete.


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