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Archives for : March2018

UIDAI CEO to SC-Universe’s strength needed to break #Aadhaar encryption #HaHanews

During Ajay Bhushan Pandey’s PowerPoint presentation at the apex court, judges had questions about exclusions due to biometric failure, storage of authentication logs

aadhaar, privacy

Illustration: Binay Sinha

It wasn’t an easy day’s work for the Unique Identification Authority of India CEO as he gave a PowerPoint presentation on Aadhaar in the as part of the proceedings in the ongoing case about the legality of the unique identification project.

Even as Pandey batted for the security measures in place in the Aadhaar system to reassure the five-judge bench, he had to face tough follow up questions from the bench regarding the petitioners’ claims.

It was one of a kind scene at the SC on Thursday as two LCD screens were set up along with projectors in the courtroom where the case was being heard.

However, just before the beginning of the presentation at 2.30 PM, one of the projectors failed and the presentation had to be done from the other one only.

The court had asked the petitioners to submit questions in writing for the presentation. Starting his presentation, the UIDAI chief said that there was no identity document for citizens before 2009 and even he didn’t have an ID since he came from a “small village.”Arguing that Aadhaar provided people a way to obtain services and subsidies in an efficient manner as it is not as difficult as getting a ration card to get public distribution grains.

He even argued that no Aadhaar data is shared without consent and in exceptional circumstances, never without the permission of a district judge or in the cases of security.

Contending that the data is safe and secure inside the Aadhaar’s 2048 bit encryption system, which is eight times stronger than the usual encryption used in financial systems, Pandey said that “it will take the whole universe’s strength to break this encryption.”However, Justice Sikri questioned the UIDAI chief about the cancellation of license of 49,000 enrollment operators and pointed out that not all of them would have been because of corruption or low quality of demographic data. To this, Pandey reiterated that UIDAI has very strict quality control standards.

While Pandey also argued that when people’s biometrics change they won’t be denied services because an authentication failure message will be shown, which will ask them to update their biometrics, judges weren’t too convinced.

said that UIDAI will get a failure message but won’t get to know if a person has been denied a service, which amounts to exclusion.Pandey responded by saying that the authority has been issuing instructions that no one should be denied benefits if their biometrics fail as there are over-riding methods such as one-time-password and demographic authentication available.

Pandey also informed the court that Aadhaar enrollment is done in prisons also, apart from banks and post offices where enrollment centres are set up. The presentation included a tour of the enrollment and e-KYC process.Pandey contended that not one agency has so far taken biometric data for security purposes and even the Central Bureau of Investigation was denied.

A startling revelation from the UIDAI chief came just before the bench rose for the day when he said that even the authority doesn’t know the purpose for which Aadhaar authentications are being done.“We are doing 4 crore (40 million) authentications every day. We don’t know the purpose of these authentications. Information remains in the silos and merging of silos is also prohibited,” he said.

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FIR against cops for abetment of suicide of Sikh Activist Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa

Former militant Wassan Singh Zaffarwal at the protest site at Thaska Ali village in Kurukshetra. Tribune photo

Vishal Joshi

Tribune News Service

Thaska Ali (Kurukshetra), March 21

A day after Sikh activist Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa jumped to death at his native village here, the district authorities ordered on Wednesday to lodge an FIR against unknown police personnel for abetment of suicide.Additional Deputy Commissioner Dharamvir Singh told the protesting Sikhs said the police authorities would also assure immediate suspension of the erring cops.

However, Khalsa’s supporters demanded copies of the FIR and suspension orders as a precondition to cremate the body.


Last rites were not performed till the report was filed.On Tuesday, Khalsa had started a ‘dharna’ to free radical Sikhs lodged in various jails.Later, he climbed atop a water tank, about 80-feet, as a mark of protest.He reportedly suffered fatal head injuries after he jumped from the tank. He was rushed to the hospital in Kurukshetra in a police vehicle where his death was pronounced.


Khalsa’s son Jhujhar Singh told The Tribune that a team of policemen rushed atop the tank to bring him down forcibly after sunset.“My father kept on warning the cops to stay away as he was holding a peaceful ‘dharna’. He also told the policemen to hold a discussion on Wednesday morning. But as the cops forcibly tried to catch him, my father jumped from the water tank to avoid police harassment,” said Jhujhar.

He denied the charge of Khalsa committing suicide or carrying petrol with him atop the water tank.“It is a false narrative that he had any life-threatening material with him. He had no intention of committing suicide but only careless police action drove him to death. I want strict action against those involved,” he added.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, scores of Khalsa’s sympathisers from Haryana and Punjab, including former militant Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, Mohkam Singh and several Akali leaders, gathered at Thaska Ali to protest the death

.Jhujhar blamed the district authorities for showing disrespect to Khalsa’s body.“On reaching Lok Naik Jai Prakash Civil Hospital in Kurukshetra this morning, we were told that post-mortem was already conducted and the mortal remains were dispatched to the village. Instead of handing over the body to the family, police personnel took its custody,” he said.


Meanwhile, the ADC said the post-mortem was video-graphed.

He told the gathering the police personnel had scaled the water tank only for Khalsa’s safety. His assurance of a probe to fix responsibility of erring cops was accepted by the protesters.

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Haryana Police Action Forced Sikh activist Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa to Jump Off the Water Tank: Eyewitnesses

By- Sikh Siyasat

Kurkshetra, Haryana: Sikh activist Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa yesterday evening jumped off a water tank situated at his village Thaska Ali where he had started hunger strike seeking release of Sikh political prisoners who have completed minimum mandatory terms of their sentences.


A team of Sikh Siyasat News (SSN) today visited the village Thaska Ali and talked to the natives who said that the police action had forced Gurbaksh Singh to jump off the water tank. Villagers told SSN that Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa had started indefinite hunger strike at around noon on Tuesday (March 20, 2018).


He was accompanied by his family members and others and after performing Ardas he came to Water Tank complex and went upstairs on the Tank. Satinderpal Singh, a resident of village Thaska Ali said: “As soon as people came to know about the protest they started gathering around the water tank. When I came here I saw that Bhai Sahib (Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa) was sitting on a balcony of the Water Tank and the door of stairs was locked from outside”. “Uh panni da camper te bistra lai ke utte gye c … unha agge vee lamba sama sangharsh keeta c” (He had taken a camper of water and beddings with him over the water tank … he had protested for long terms earlier also), Satinderpal Singh said while adding that there was not point for him to jump off the tank in normal course of his struggle.

He said that the police was trying to force him to come down and after the police started to go upstairs it was only then he jumped off the tank. SSN team saw that the boundary wall of the water-tank complex was demolished from a side and there were two heaps of earth/soil on one side of the tank.

Villagers told SSN that the police and administration had demolished this wall yesterday around evening and the soil heaps were created. Villagers opined that the police had not taken enough precautionary measures before attempting to forcibly bring Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa down.

A villager told SSN that the net placed by the police was merely a formality as it covered around ten squarefeet and it was no way a sufficient measure. Villagers who were present on the spot when Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa jumped off the water tank told SSN that Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa was repeatedly asking the police to back-off warning that if police try to forcibly bring him down he would jump off the tank.

“Unna keha vee c ke tusin mainu majboor na karo, te savere 8-9 vaje tak aa jaaeo te masle baare gall kar lavange. Par police valle manne nahin te kehnde asin hun appne tareeke naal hee tenu thale laavange” [He (Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa) had told the police to not to force him and to come for talks around 8-9 am in the morning but the police did not agree and said they would bring him down in their own way], said an eye-witness.

“Jiven hee police tala tod ke uppar jaan lag payi taan unna ne school vaale paase shaal maar ditti” (As soon as the police started going upstairs after bearking open the door lock, he jumped off the tank on school side), said Satinderpal Singh.

EXCLUSIVE TALK with EYEWITNESSES: Police Action Forced Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa to Jump Off the Water Tank [VIDEO]

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Vyapam scam: CBI arrests chairman of Bhopal based LN Medical College

arrest, handcuff

Image used for representational purpose

NEW DELHI: The CBI has arrested chairman of Bhopal-based LN Medical College J N Chouksey in connection with a Vyapam related case pertaining to Madhya Pradesh Pre-Medical Test-2012, officials said here today.

The agency had filed a supplementary chargesheet in the case on November 23, 2017 in a special court in Bhopal.

The court had issued non-bailable arrest warrants against the absconding chargesheeted persons.

“In pursuance to such arrest warrants, the CBI arrested the accused from his residence at Bhopal.The arrested accused was produced before the court and remanded to judicial custody upto March 24, 2018,” CBI spokesperson said here.

It was alleged in the chargesheet that the LN medical college, as part to the criminal conspiracy, dishonestly provided wrong information to the Director of Medical Education, Bhopal (DME) regarding the admission of a co-accused candidate who was already a student of MBBS 2011 batch in Patna.

“The medical college had reported to DME only 5 vacant seats for second round of counselling whereas more than 40 seats were vacant.

“It was further alleged that the medical college took more than 40 admissions on September 30, 2012 when the process of counselling was already over,” the spokesperson said.

He said the college, in connivance with the DME officials, forwarded the list of admitted students to DME, which was different from the allotment list of the directorate.

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Yogi Adityanath govt to withdraw 131 cases linked to 2013 Muzaffarnagar, Shamli riots #WTFnews

Opposition criticises move

In what is likely to emerge as another controversial move that could further the communal divide, the Bharatiya Janata Party government of Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh has reportedly started the process of withdrawing 131 cases linked to the 2013 communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.

While the BJP has maintained it is withdrawing only the false cases linked to the September 2013 riots, in which at least 62 people had died and thousands lost their homes, Opposition parties have termed it an attempt to offer ‘amnesty’ to rioters.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal to Twitter to vent out his frustration over the move, saying that the decision gives the message that the “state will protect murderers and not victims of violence”.

A report in the The Indian Express claimed to have examined documents, which show that a large portion of the 131 cases which are being withdrawn “include charges under Indian Penal Code sections related to ‘heinous’ crimes with a minimum punishment of seven years in jail”.

File image of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. PTI

File image of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. PTI

Of them, 13 involve murder under Section 302, 11 involve an attempt to murder under Section 307, 85 involve mischief by fire or explosive substances under Section 436, 55 have charges of dacoity under Section 395 and two of kidnapping Under Section 364 of the Indian Penal Code.

Besides, the report also claimed that there are “16 cases under Section 153A on charges of promoting enmity on religious grounds, and two under Section 295A for deliberate and malicious acts intended to insult a religion or religious beliefs”.

In January, a report claimed that the Uttar Pradesh government is mulling withdrawing nine cases against BJP leaders in connection with the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.

According to the report, Raj Singh, Special Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Department of Justice, had written a letter to the district magistrate seeking information on 13 points, including whether the cases — filed against UP minister Suresh Rana, former Union minister Sanjiv Balyan, MP Bhartendu Singh, MLA Umesh Malik and party leader Sadhvi Prachi — could be withdrawn in public interest. The letter also sought the opinion of the Muzaffarnagar senior superintendent of police.

It is alleged that Rana and Singh along with BJP MLA Sangit Som and a man identified as Chandra Pal participated in a mahapanchayat and incited violence through their speeches in the last week of August 2013.

Although it’s not clear if the nine cases against the BJP leaders are also among the 131 cases which are being withdrawn by the Adityanath government, a report in February had said that Singh had written another letter to district magistrates in Shamli and Muzaffarnagar seeking details of 131 cases linked to the riots.

According to Hindustan Times, in February (and before as well) this year, Balyan, had met Adityanath seeking withdrawal of 402 cases registered largely against Hindus during the riots.

Reports claim that a total of 503 cases were registered against around 1,455 persons (according to some the number is above 2,000) at police stations in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli by the then Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh. The cases were filed against both Hindus and Muslims.

The communal riots broke out in Muzaffarnagar in September 2013 and later spread to the neighbouring Shamli.


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Uttar Pradesh – #Aadhaar obstacle depriving widows of pensions

As their fingerprints fail to match recorded biometrics, needy people in the state are struggling to find ‘a few rupees or rations’ to survive

Aadhaar, the Indian government’s bid to create the world’s biggest biometric database, has become a victim of “mission creep.” What began as a project to create a foolproof identification system to weed out duplicate and fake beneficiaries from public-welfare programs has morphed into a vast bureaucratic net that threatens to ensnare every citizen, rich or poor.

In the process, its original purpose seems all but forgotten. In the rush to make Aadhaar mandatory for everything from opening a bank account to getting a driver’s license, its intended beneficiaries, the poor who depend on government welfare for survival, have been left stranded.

Even before the infrastructure for a seamless nationwide verification system of scanners and telecoms was put in place, the government made Aadhaar mandatory for claiming welfare benefits.

Horror stories abound of tribal communities that have lost access to subsidized food, children denied their midday meal, and now, women in Padrauna in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar district who have been denied their widow’s pension as their biometrics don’t match those recorded in the Aadhaar database.

Gujrati Devi, a 90-year-old widow from Mathiadhir village in the Naurangia development block, says she lost her husband in 2009 but was able to get a widow’s pension after some difficulty. However, that has become impossible since Aadhaar was made mandatory for disbursement of the pension, as her fingerprints don’t match the recorded biometrics.

“Bank officers shoo me away, saying, ‘Don’t waste our time. Come here only after your Aadhaar details are fixed,’” the widow said. She said that earlier, either the block development officer or gram pradhan (village chief) would help her get her subsidized food grain and the widow’s pension. But now everybody says they are helpless because of the Aadhaar-card requirement.

Gujrati Devi said there were several others like her also facing problems because of Aadhaar. “I hope and pray that I die soon so that my son doesn’t have to suffer because of me,” she said, tears in her eyes. The elderly woman, who walks with the help of a stick, has been forced to take up odd jobs like winnowing wheat to make ends meet.

‘I had to go get my eyes and fingerprints scanned four times. This Aadhar card is like Lord Brahma, who it’s difficult to see,’ a 100-year-old widow said mockingly

Another widow from the village, Sirtaji Devi, who is 100 years old and too infirm to work, is also unable to use any government assistance as her fingerprints don’t match biometrics on the Aadhaar database. “I had to go get my eyes and fingerprints scanned four times. This Aadhar card is like Lord Brahma, who it’s difficult to see,” she said mockingly.

She and her son have had to borrow money from other villagers to buy groceries and medicines. “When we can’t get a few rupees or rations to feed ourselves, how will we live?” she asked, adding that Aadhaar has made life miserable for village people.

Block development officer Uttam Yadav says he met with the district magistrate and had been assured the problem would be solved soon.

“I receive many complaints every day related to Aadhaar. It’s a good system but people are suffering because of issues like biometrics,” he said. “I raised this complaint in our department and with the district magistrate. The latter is in talks with the Unique Identification Authority of India, and this will be solved soon.”

The Unique Identity Authority issued a statement on March 10 clarifying that essential services such as access to the public distribution system and hospitals cannot be denied because the customer doesn’t have an Aadhaar identity. But such assurances matter little on the ground.

Viswajeet Rai, 28, is a resident of Mitha Maafi village, which falls under the Vishunpura block. He wants to join the Indian Police Service but cannot apply because he doesn’t have an Aadhaar card. He says he couldn’t get a card issued even after applying for it four times.

Rai also faces problems when withdrawing money from the bank. He says the bank has given him an ultimatum: Get his account linked with an Aadhaar card number by March 31 or his money will be frozen by the bank.

“The bank holds hundreds of thousands of rupees of our money, which my father and grandfather earned by farming. Now we have started keeping our money at home,” Rai said.

Ram Krishan Maurya, an executive at the Sahaj Janseva Kendra, the local Aadhaar registration agency, says the repeated rejection of applications because of faulty scanning devices is a serious problem and the government has no solution for it.

“People are troubled by this. They come here, abuse us, and we apply for their cards again. But nothing happens. Nobody listens to us either,” Maurya complained.

Sanjay Kumar, an officer at the Lucknow UIDAI office, says the problem with recording biometric data will be solved soon and the department has been taking it very seriously.

“The department has made it clear that no one can deny any essential services because a person doesn’t have a card, and we are looking into this matter,” he insisted.

The writers are part of the 101 Reporters’ Network.

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SC- Pension a right, not a subsidy. Justify its link to #Aadhaar

UIDAI Helped Eliminate Bogus Pensioners: AG

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the Centre on its decision to link Aadhaar with pension, reasoning that it was not a subsidy but an entitlement of a person for years of service he/she has rendered to the gover nment.

Referring to the argument of the petitioners that many pensioners had been denied their only subsistence in old age due to technical and physical reasons, a bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan asked attorney general K K Venugopal if the Centre was going to deny them pension, a rightful entitlement, just for want of Aadhaar.

AG: If needed, govt will amend Aadhaar law

Attorney general Venugopal said Aadhaar had been instrumental in eliminating many bogus pensioners drawing the post-retirement benefits for years. Justice Sikri said, “Pension is an entitlement and not a benefit under the social welfare schemes. How is it included under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016? Pension is a return for services rendered. There are many pensioners who live with their children who are settled abroad. Can such category of pensioners be told that they will not be granted pension unless they have an Aadhaar card?”

Justice Chandrachud said, “There is another category of persons who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and may have serious dementia. There are those old persons whose biometrics do not match with the Aadhaar data. Where do they go? Pension is a rightful entitlement and not a bounty given by the state.” He said there were many instances where biometrics of manual labourers do not match, while in remote areas authentication fails due to lack of electricity or network connectivity. Should the beneficiaries be denied financial benefits, he asked, adding, “We’ll appreciate if the government can tell us upfront that there is a serious issue of financial exclusion. The cabinet secretariat had flagged this issue. The government must explain what steps have been taken to eliminate financial exclusion of legitimate beneficiaries.”

AG Venugopal said there was provision in the Aadhaar law not to deny social welfare benefits to even blind leprosy patients, who cannot provide either an iris scan or finger prints for Aadhaar. The method of their enrolment is different, he added. The AG said pension had a subsidy component and Aadhaar would authenticate the actual pensioner numbers. “We will know who are the actual beneficiaries. If in future it is required to amend the Aadhaar law, we will do that. But, for this reason the whole project need not be condemned.” He said no such person had alleged that they had been denied pension because of want of Aadhaar or their biometrics not matching Aadhaar data. “Unless they make an issue, we’ll really be groping in the dark to find a solution to a hypothetical problem,” he said.

The bench disagreed and asked, “Lot of people do not have the wherewithal to come to court, but can we shut our eyes to allegations about financial exclusion”.

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Bihar woman operated under torch light dies #WTFnews

The family members of the victim held the hospital administration and their negligence responsible for her death.

According to media reports, the woman was hospitalised after a road accident. (Photo: Twitter/ANI)

 According to media reports, the woman was hospitalised after a road accident. (Photo: Twitter/ANI)

Patna: A woman who was operated on under torchlight at Bihar’s Sadar Hospital in Saharsa died on Wednesday night.

The family members of the victim held the hospital administration and their negligence responsible for her death.

“We were not satisfied with her treatment. So, we admitted her in a private hospital. They kept saying she is fine and made us wait for two days. Suddenly they asked us to take her to Patna where they said she has broken bones and internal injuries,” said Omkar, a relative of the deceased.

“No case has been registered yet,” the relative added.

The incident took place on March 19 and the video has gone viral.

In the video, it could be seen that a doctor was operating on a woman while another woman was holding a torch.

However, no authority from hospital has said anything about this.

According to media reports, the woman was hospitalised after a road accident.

Read more about the case 

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Jharkhand lynching case: 11 cow vigilantes get life sentence for killing Muslim trader

Muslim trader Alimuddin Ansari aka Asgar Ali was lynched by a mob on June 29 at Bazartand in Ramgarh for allegedly transporting beef.

Bedanti Saran
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Muslim organisations protest lynching of a trader from the community for allegedly carrying beef in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh.
Muslim organisations protest lynching of a trader from the community for allegedly carrying beef in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh. (HT File Photo)

A fast-track court in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh district on Wednesday sentenced 11 people, including one local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker, to life imprisonment for lynching a Muslim trader they suspected of transporting beef last year. The court didn’t decide on a 12th convict who is reported to be a minor.

The court of additional district judge Om Prakash had held the 11 men guilty under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), among other offences, on March 16.

The 11 men — Santosh Singh, Chottu Verma, Deepak Mishra, Vicky Saw, Sikandar Ram, Uttam Ram, Vikram Prasad, Raju Kumar, Rohit Thakur, Kapil Thakur and BJP worker Nityanand Mahto — were convicted of murdering Alimuddin Ansari alias Asgar Ali, a 55-year-old trader, on June 29 last year. The convicts were also fined Rs 2,000 each.

Additional public prosecutor Sushil Kumar Shukla said this was the first case of cow vigilantism in the country in which the accused were convicted and punished.

“However, the court is yet to decide on the defence counsel’s contention that the 12th convict is a juvenile. We have opposed it on the grounds that he is over 16 years of age,” he added.

Defence lawyer DN Singh said he will file an appeal against the convictions in the Jharkhand high court.


The court has forwarded its order to the district legal services authority, so it can initiate steps to compensate the victim’s family.

The victim’s wife, Mariam Khatun, welcomed the judgment. “The death of my husband came as an irreparable loss. The accused deserved nothing less,” she said.

Last June, a mob, allegedly of more than 100 people, lynched Alimuddin alias Asgar Ali, who was on his way back home after buying meat from a local market, on the suspicion that he was carrying beef.

The mob surrounded him at Bazartand in Ramgarh town, about 45km from the state capital Ranchi, and set his van on fire after killing him. Cow slaughter is banned in Jharkhand.

The lynching occurred just hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned against such attacks by vigilante group, saying the killing of people in the name of protecting cows was unacceptable.

Similar cases of cow vigilante violence — including the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri in 2015 and that of Pehlu Khan in Rajasthan’s Alwar in 2017 — remain at the trial stage.

Ansari’s lynching followed a string of similar attacks in Jharkhand by cow vigilantes last year. The attack rocked Parliament with several opposition leaders questioning the administration’s resolve to tame cow vigilantes.

In the face of widespread criticism, the state government warned officers-in-charge of police stations across Jharkhand that they would be held responsible for any such incident taking place in their jurisdiction.

The state government also requested the Jharkhand high court to constitute a special fast-track court to try the Ramgarh lynching incident. Police filed the charge sheet in September, and the trial was completed in less than six

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