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Anti- #Aadhaar protests “rock” Indian cities, activists oppose use of UID for essential services, surveillance

Citizens across the country organised protests against being forced to get services through Aadhaar. The government’s notifications making Aadhaar mandatory for essential services, including scholarships, school lunches, disability stipends, led to a call for action by the Right to Food Campaign. On Friday, various organisations and people’s movements, including Right to Food Campaign India, Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, Right to Food Campaign Karnataka, NirAadhaar Collective, PUCL, and Rethink Aadhaar organised events in different districts towns and cities.

Citizens across the country organised protests against being forced to get services through Aadhaar. The government’s notifications making Aadhaar mandatory for essential services, including scholarships, school lunches, disability stipends, led to a call for action by the Right to Food Campaign. On Friday, various organisations and people’s movements, including Right to Food Campaign India, Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, Right to Food Campaign Karnataka, NirAadhaar Collective, PUCL, and Rethink Aadhaar organised events in different districts towns and cities.

In Jaipur, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties organised a discussion which was attended by around 100 people including students, researchers, and activists.

Arjun Sheoran, advocate, the Punjab and Haryana High Court gave a lecture on “Tracking and Surveillance in democratic society: the case of UID Aadhar” and spoke about 1. Lack of feasibility study before implementing Aadhaar. 2. Scope for misuse of the AADHAR biometric data 3. The growing surveillance state where Aadhaarcan be used to surveil, track and silence ordinary citizens. 4. The Central Monitoring System (CMS), the mass surveillance tool being used to surveil Internet, phone, electronic data in India. 5. From a completely voluntary program, Aadhaar is being made all pervasive, without any need for the same, for mid-day meals, bank accounts, PAN cards, aid to victims of Manual Scavenging/prostitution/bonded Labour, SIM cards etc. (PUCL release attached).

In Karnataka, Right to Food Campaign, Karnataka organized simultaneous events across 14 districts. Groups of citizens protested against Aadhaar, and submitted memorandums to the DCs demanding that Aadhaar not be made mandatory for NREGA, PDS, Pension and other govt schemes. A memorandrum was prepared and is also being submitted to Karnataka Chief Minister today.

In Bangalore, the following social organizations came together to protest against Aadhaar at Town Hall from 11am to 2pm: Right to Food Campaign, Karnataka, Slum JanAndolana, Karnataka, Milana, and PUCL Karnataka.

Various social activists & concerned citizens addressed the crowd: Prabhakar, Karnataka slum activist; Kshithij Urs, Prof. Public Policy NLS; Meenamma & Narasimha from Slum JanAndolana; Ron Abraham, social activist & entrepreneur; Vishwanath from New Socialist Alternative. The gathering was also addressed by Sukanya, who is the petitioner in the Karnataka HC case which made Aadhaar optional for PDS in Karnataka.
They expressed deep reservations with the mandatory usage of Aadhaar. In the words of one of the speakers: “It is an irony that Aadhaar is being pushed as panacea for poverty eradication, while ground reality is that poor are being denied entitlement. Hon SC which has a duty to question impunity of GOI is instead trying to find a rational for it’s implementation!”

In Delhi students, researchers and activists organised a signature campaign and recorded citizens’ grievances at UIDAI regional office at Pragati Maidan. Hundreds of people queues since 5 and 6 am spoke of the costs and harassment they face in enroling for and updating Aadhaar or else they are cut from exisiing 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 Nangoli 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 pension who is visually impaired, too is rejected during biometric authentication. For such serious gaps, UIDAI has left citizens at the mercy of its call center services.

Events were simultaneously held in Lucknow and Bihar.

The Day of Action confirmed that the UID project puts an unreasonable burden on citizens. It is coercive, exclusionary, and a careless experiment by the Government of India on citizens’ fundamental rights.

Demands that have emerged include: 

1) Government stop mandatory use of Aadhaar and withdraw notifications making Aadhaar mandatory for any government benefits, subsidy, or services, first stopping forcing this on children’s welfare and education schemes.2) Stop commercial use of citizens’ biometrics data.

3) Allow Rajya Sabha amendment for an “Opt Out” of Aadhaar, if a citizen so wishes, and get all stored biometrics data and authentication records deleted.

4) There must be a public consultation on the UID project.

5) The Supreme Court must urgently constitute a Constitution bench to decide the Aadhaar case (Puttuswamy & Ors) pending since 2012

In Jaipur, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties organised a discussion which was attended by around 100 people including students, researchers, and activists.

Arjun Sheoran, advocate, the Punjab and Haryana High Court gave a lecture on “Tracking and Surveillance in democratic society: the case of UID Aadhar” and spoke about 1. Lack of feasibility study before implementing Aadhaar. 2. Scope for misuse of the AADHAR biometric data 3. The growing surveillance state where Aadhaarcan be used to surveil, track and silence ordinary citizens. 4. The Central Monitoring System (CMS), the mass surveillance tool being used to surveil Internet, phone, electronic data in India. 5. From a completely voluntary program, Aadhaar is being made all pervasive, without any need for the same, for mid-day meals, bank accounts, PAN cards, aid to victims of Manual Scavenging/prostitution/bonded Labour, SIM cards etc. (PUCL release attached).

 

In Karnataka, Right to Food Campaign, Karnataka organized simultaneous events across 14 districts. Groups of citizens protested against Aadhaar, and submitted memorandums to the DCs demanding that Aadhaar not be made mandatory for NREGA, PDS, Pension and other govt schemes. A memorandrum was prepared and is also being submitted to Karnataka Chief Minister today.
In Bangalore, the following social organizations came together to protest against Aadhaar at Town Hall from 11am to 2pm: Right to Food Campaign, Karnataka, Slum JanAndolana, Karnataka, Milana, and PUCL Karnataka.
Various social activists & concerned citizens addressed the crowd: Prabhakar, Karnataka slum activist; Kshithij Urs, Prof. Public Policy NLS; Meenamma & Narasimha from Slum JanAndolana; Ron Abraham, social activist & entrepreneur; Vishwanath from New Socialist Alternative. The gathering was also addressed by Sukanya, who is the petitioner in the Karnataka HC case which made Aadhaar optional for PDS in Karnataka.
They expressed deep reservations with the mandatory usage of Aadhaar. In the words of one of the speakers: “It is an irony that Aadhaar is being pushed as panacea for poverty eradication, while ground reality is that poor are being denied entitlement. Hon SC which has a duty to question impunity of GOI is instead trying to find a rational for it’s implementation!”

In Delhi students, researchers and activists organised a signature campaign and recorded citizens’ grievances at UIDAI regional office at Pragati Maidan. Hundreds of people queues since 5 and 6 am spoke of the costs and harassment they face in enroling for and updating Aadhaar or else they are cut from exisiing 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 Nangoli 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 pension who is visually impaired, too is rejected during biometric authentication. For such serious gaps, UIDAI has left citizens at the mercy of its call center services.

Events were simultaneously held in Lucknow and Bihar.

The Day of Action confirmed that the UID project puts an unreasonable burden on citizens. It is coercive, exclusionary, and a careless experiment by the Government of India on citizens’ fundamental rights.

Demands that have emerged include: 

1) Government stop mandatory use of Aadhaar and withdraw notifications making Aadhaar mandatory for any government benefits, subsidy, or services, first stopping forcing this on children’s welfare and education schemes.2) Stop commercial use of citizens’ biometrics data.

3) Allow Rajya Sabha amendment for an “Opt Out” of Aadhaar, if a citizen so wishes, and get all stored biometrics data and authentication records deleted.

4) There must be a public consultation on the UID project.

5) The Supreme Court must urgently constitute a Constitution bench to decide the Aadhaar case (Puttuswamy & Ors) pending since 2012

Nationwide Anti-Aadhaar Protests

Technical bungling in Aadhaar cards has left many people in the lurch, depriving them of benefits. Pensioners are particularly affected

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Comments (2)

  1. K SHESHU BABU

    The protests against compulsory use of aadhar in various cities depicts the rising dissent against imposition of surveillance by the rulers on the people

  2. S Sailo

    The mandatory used of addhar cause a problem to some of the people in mizoram, because some people believe it might be the symptoms of “the mark of the beast” as written in the Bible ( Revelation 13:16-18
    He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor , free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast , for it is the number of a man : His number is 666)
    From the above verse, some people believe that I might be the mark of beast that Government wants to link PAN with addhar and without PAN most of the shop that need to pay tax cannot sell their goods. So without linking with addhar, PAN will be invalid so no one may sell except one who has the mark

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