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

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”