Skip to main content

Anti-aadhaar protests "rock" Indian cities, activists oppose use of UID for essential services, surveillance

By Our Representative
Civil society-supported protests rocked the country on Friday against citizens being allegedly forced to get services through aadhaar. Protesters especially took strong exception to the government's notifications making aadhaar mandatory for essential services, including scholarships, school lunches, and disability stipends.
Led by a call for action by the Right to Food Campaign, several NGOs and people's movements, including Right to Food Campaign India, Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, Right to Food Campaign Karnataka, NirAadhaar Collective, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Rethink Aadhaar, organized events in different districts towns and cities of India.
In Jaipur, PUCL organised a discussion, which was attended by students, researchers and activists. Arjun Sheoran, advocate, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, told the audience how aadhaar was being made a tool of "tracking and surveillance in a democratic society”. 
Pointing towards “lack of feasibility study before implementing aadhaar”, Sheoran talked of wide scope for misuse of the aadhaar biometric data, pointing towards the danger of aadhaar becoming a handle “silence ordinary citizens.”
According to him, at the Central Monitoring System (CMS), the mass surveillance tool was being used to intrude one’s privacy on internet, phone and electronic data.
“From a completely voluntary programme, aadhaar is being made all pervasive, without any need for the same, for midday meals, bank accounts, PAN cards, aid to victims of manual scavenging, prostitution bonded Labour, SIM cards etc”, he said.
In Karnataka, the Right to Food Campaign organized simultaneous events across 14 districts, with groups of citizens protested against aadhaar at local offices. They submitted memorandums to district collectors demanding that aadhaar should not be made mandatory for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme jobs, public distribution system, pension and other government schemes.
A memorandum was prepared and submitted to the Karnataka Chief Minister.
In Bangalore, several social organizations – Right to Food Campaign, Karnataka, Slum Jan, Andolana, Milana, and PUCL – came together to protest against aadhaar at the Town Hall. Those who addressed included Prabhakar, Karnataka slum activist; Prof Kshithij Urs, National Law Schoo; Meenamma and Narasimha from the Slum Jan Andolana; Ron Abraham, social activist and entrepreneur; and Vishwanath from the New Socialist Alternative.
Sukanya, who is the petitioner in the Karnataka High Court to make aadhaar optional for PDS in Karnataka, especially expressed reservation with the mandatory usage of aadhaar, saying, "It is an irony that aadhaar is being pushed as panacea for poverty eradication, while ground reality is that poor are being denied entitlement.”
“The Supreme Court which has a duty to question impunity of the Government of India is instead trying to find a rationale for its implementation", it was alleged.
In Delhi, students, researchers and activists organized a signature campaign and recorded citizens' grievances at the Universal Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) regional office at Pragati Maidan. 
Visually challenged Joginder Singh at UIDAI office in Delhi
People had queued up at the office from early morning 5 am, pointing towards the costs and harassment they faced in enrolling for and updating aadhaar or else they would be cut from existing services.
Sushil Singh,62, who was making his third trip to UIDAI office this week, said that he cannot apply for his pension because his name is erroneously spelt on his aadhaar card. Bhagwan Singh, a construction worker from Nangol,i was there a second time as his aadhaar card did not have his birth date but only birth year.
Om Prakash, a pensioner was there because his aadhaar card was mysteriously cancelled without any prior notice or hearing granted. Joginder Singh, another pensioner who is visually challenged, said he was rejected during biometric authentication.
Events, which were simultaneously held in other cities, including in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh, “confirmed that the UID project puts an unreasonable burden on citizens”, said a Rethink Aadhaar statement, adding, “It is coercive, exclusionary, and a careless experiment by the Government of India on citizens' fundamental rights.”

Comments

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”