Muhammad Shadab had gone to pray in his neighbourhood mosque in Indian-administered Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar when he was given a questionnaire by the mosque’s management.

The questionnaire was part of a so-called survey by the disputed region’s police, seeking his personal details, including phone numbers of family members, possible links to armed rebels, records of foreign visits or a member settled abroad, and even the number of CCTV cameras at home.

Other details the residents were asked to record in the survey last month included their Aadhaar – or unique identity card – number, the number of vehicles they owned, and specifics on the exact location of their house.

Shadab, 55, told Al Jazeera he had been panicking since he was handed the questionnaire. “I couldn’t believe I had to provide such extensive details – even of my female family members,” said the former government employee now running his own business.

“It was intriguing for all, even for the mosque committee members. They were instructed [by the police] to distribute the forms, collect them from us, and submit the filled-in documents within a week.”

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