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Sri Lanka: Where Disappearances Served As A National Security Imperative To Nation-Building?

June 16, 2014 | Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,Opinion |

By Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena –

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena

Reading through this study by an Australian doctoral researcher Jane Thomson-Senanayake published by the Asian Human Rights Commission, May 2014, I am forcibly reminded of the lessons that history should teach us if a modicum of sense informed our thinking on Sri Lanka’s crisis of state accountability. As I write the review, Muslims shops and houses in Sri Lanka’s South have been vandalized, lives have been lost and people injuredas a result of trades by the Bodu Bala Sena which drapes the Buddhist flag around itself but epitomizes the very opposite of the tolerance and compassion that the Buddha taught. Christian churches, mosques and kovils have been at the receiving end of crude religious hatred by fear mongers who parade themselves on national television but nevertheless are not dealt with by the law.

At the other geographical end of the country, the Tamil people live in guarded fear, mistrusting themselves even as their towns and villages are garrisoned and militarized, military spies infiltrate their neighborhoods and traditionally closely woven communities fracture. To a tourist visiting this land of quite unbelievable beauty, these strains appear invisible. Yet as seen paradoxically as Buddhists observe a time of high religious significance when the royal missionary monk Mahinda perched the first sermon to the ruling king at the ancient capital Anuradhapura, it only takes a spark for a violent conflagration to erupt. This is an unpalatable reality that casual visitors would also discover to their disadvantage.

Examining historical fault-lines

Post-war Sri Lanka should have been dominated by the reaching out of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities to each other with the aim of building anew a liberal framework for common existence. But in converse what we are experiencing is a rise in communal hatred. This is a dangerous flirtation with the past as race/religious riots in Sri Lanka’s past teach us only too well. But we have inexplicable amnesia regarding our history. We appear condemned to repeat it, yet and despairingly yet again.

A Sociological Exploration Of Disappearances In Sri Lanka Author: Jane Thomson-Senanayake Print Length: 275 pages Publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission Date: May 1, 2014 ISBN: 978-955-4597-04-4

A Sociological Exploration Of Disappearances In Sri Lanka
Author: Jane Thomson-Senanayake
Print Length: 275 pages
Publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission
Date: May 1, 2014
ISBN: 978-955-4597-04-4

Thomson-Senanayake’s study explores these historical fault-lines through the manner in which disappearances served as an integral part of a system of state power and patronage during 1971-2002, ‘to enable the political elite to immobilise all political opposition.’ This is a reading of history which peels away the skin of ideological preoccupations and exposes the truth for what it is, simply a ruthless appropriation of ancient mistrusts and convenient mythologies to serve the political purposes of governments and oppositions.

Her crisp recollection of the dismantling of democratic systems, imploding from the 1970’s exemplifies how impunity is deeply imbedded in our history. The Southern insurgency of 1971 pitted Sinhalese youths against the State and gave rise to Sri Lanka’s first enforced disappearances, much before conflict exploded in the North and East between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government. By that time, Sri Lanka’s systems had already commenced its ruinous slide into decay. Political tit for tat had crippled the public service and imperiled an independent judiciary. One illustration is the replacement of the traditional village headman system by politically appointed village level administrators (grama sevaka niladharis) in 1963. Thomson-Senanayake remarks that the ‘nationalist ideology of the ruling elite of which political violence was an outward manifestation’ conflicted with an ‘alternate ethos represented by the country’s rural youth’, Sinhala as well as Tamil. As she says consequentially, ‘disappearance served a national security imperative to nation building.’

Failure to recognize essential contradictions

Indeed, one may well question whether if Sri Lanka’s post-independence political leadership possessed any commitment to basic fundamentals of democracy, beyond a cynical bowing to labels and titles, unlike enlightened Indian constitutional reformists across the Palk Straits. As this study recapitulates, power was transferred at the turn of independence from colonial rule to a ‘Western educated, highly urbanized high class elite’ with the consequent absence of any genuine cultural or socio-political transformation. Gradual departures thereafter from the Rule of Law, the discarding of safeguards for the minorities carefully put into place by the departing colonial rulers in the Independence Constitution of 1948 were calculated and contrived.

But decades later, we still fail to interrogate many of these essential contradictions and perversities. The 1972 Constitution, in breaking with Sri Lanka’s colonial past, made its contempt for fundamental principles such as the independence of the judiciary and the public service very clear. Yet this Constitution is still referred to with a hint of pride by some as an ‘autochthonous’ (home-grown) constitutional document. Given the constitutional ravages that were perpetuated through this device, one may well question the very essence of this highly inappropriate boast.

However, such questioning remains rare. For example, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party coalition, which brought in the 1972 Constitution, comprised also Sri Lanka’s left parties. Recently, the birth and death anniversaries respectively of leftist greats N.M. Perera and Colvin R. de Silva were celebrated by their faithful adherents with much pomp. Yet the question as to what these ‘greats’ were doing when they were part of a constitutional process which started Sri Lanka on the long and painful road to a State ultimately bereft of the Rule of Law remains unanswered.

These departures from fixed and unwavering constitutional protections of rights in 1972 were only aggravated by Sri Lanka’s second Republican Constitution (1978, the present document). One can scarcely be surprised at this continuation of the subversive process. One can also scarcely be taken aback at the wholesale departure from constitutional governance evidenced by the post-war Rajapaksa Presidency, decades later. As we are reminded yet and yet again, one evil can only yield (in the absence of a miracle) to a greater evil.

Going beyond the ethnic dimensions

A further important focus of this thesis is its challenging of the ‘ethnic conflict construction of violence, which remains the official position on the conflict with the LTTE, by recognising it in the contexts of the political elite and their manipulation of political constituencies, particularly middle class fear and anxiety.’ This is the most recent in a growing body of work which urges a re-conceptualization of what is commonly termed as Sri Lanka’s accountability problem rather than as limited to a narrow ethnic prism. For decades, this approach on the part of the international community, including some international non-governmental organizations, had stultified the proper understanding of the country’s historic culture of impunity. Unfortunately, attempts to frame the discussions on a more inclusive basis have only led to thinly veiled accusations that these arguments downplay the specificity of Tamil grievances.

Even more damagingly, radical Tamil nationalists have used the conceptualization of the Sinhala-Buddhist ‘hegemonic State’ (a term burrowed from other historical contexts to which it is perhaps far better suited) to contend that nation building need not concern the Tamil people whose sole focus should be on the building up of the Tamil nationalist identity. These arguments are buttressed by selective quotation of the blindness of some ‘educated’ Sinhalese towards what the Tamils have suffered. And most un-forgivingly, debates on individual liberties are confined to atrocities occurring against the Tamil minority, ignoring extensively researched data on the pitiless reach of the national security state against all communities.

In unnerving respects, these arguments only reflect sentiments of Sinhala nationalists and the xenophobic ethos of Sri Lanka’s post-war political leadership. Caught between these two unhappy extremities, there appears to be little hope for a discussion informed by moderation and compromise. And ironically, this skewed rationale has only helped Sri Lanka’s majoritarian governments to avoid an inconvenient problem of overarching state impunity.

One challenge to this unhealthy dichotomy came from none other than a somewhat unexpected source, namely the 2011 report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). Its focus on Sri Lanka’s post-war crisis of the Rule of Law rattled the political leadership and to some extent, transformed local debates from sound and fury over which was bloodier, the LTTE or the Sri Lankan State to a far more constructive engagement with national institutions and processes benefitting the majority and the minorities.

Points for imperative introspection

In that regard, Thomson-Senanayake’s study is useful for the broader approach that it adopts. The dominant theme of her exploration is about the human pain of the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims who have been the primary targets of the State. Crucially, as yet another point of imperative introspection, the examination is also about the political project of the survivors of political violence themselves, from the North to the South, of the exploitation of this project by the political elite and its ultimate – some would fittingly term it, inevitable – failure.

The co-opting of the Southern Mothers Front in the eighties by an upcoming opposition parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa (later to become the President of Sri Lanka in a vastly changed country) is just one apt illustration of the same. And as she says, ‘by achieving two primary objectives—rendering individuals permanently silent and neutralising social mobilisation against the state—disappearance enabled the ruling elite to manipulate local grievances and tensions which led to greater violence in the permanent removal of local enemies and rivals while heightening mistrust.’

Certainly co-opting of voices of dissent occurred at other levels as well. Thomson-Senanyake’s thesis looks briefly at the failures of the law and of the legal systems. The institutionalization of political violence is themed to include the examination of the centralization of the Office of the Executive President and the overtaking of normal law by the emergency State. It also looks at the investigation and prosecution of disappearances, the failure of habeas corpus and the achievements/failures of the disappearances commissions.

This is a socio-political focus. Consequently the critique of the judiciary is understandably secondary. However as much as the politicization of civil society movements on disappearances is one of the most refreshing aspects to emerge from this analysis, it may be a useful effort for another time to look at the politicization of Sri Lanka’s legal elite in regard to the subversion of the judicial institution. This had serious consequential impact on the eventual decimation of the Supreme Court as an arbiter of the rights of the disappeared. The monstrous awakening of Sri Lanka’s national security state and its ruthless recourse to enforced disappearances took place through a process of slow evolution aimed at crippling the judicial institution. These abominations have now come to a full flowering in a rogue Sri Lankan state minimally cloaked in the form of democracy. Checks and balances on legislative and executive power have been decimated.

Bringing critical insights to bear

It must be recognized that the post-war crisis of nationhood which Sri Lanka is inflicted with, leading to an international inquiry on accountability, originates from the past. This is an inevitable reaping of seeds remorselessly sowed decades ago by Prime Ministers and Presidents who laid claim to the best traditions of education and presumed erudition, quite unlike the ruder leadership of today.

These are apt reflections at a time when public interventions are understandably but shortsightedly informed by coruscating anger at the great misdeeds of Sri Lanka’s post-war political leadership. Often, the easy way taken out is to look at pure regime change. Our own history tells us however that though regime change may be necessary, this is not a solution by itself and of itself.

For those of us intensely preoccupied as to why such an anguished fate has been visited upon the people of this beautiful but bloody land, this book will undoubtedly be useful in the critical insights that it brings to the discussions.

*The reviewer is a Sri Lanka based legal analyst and senior columnist. Her recent books include ‘Rule of Law in Decline’ (2009), ‘Still Seeking Justice’ (2010) and the ‘Judicial Mind in Sri Lanka’ (co-authored,2014).

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Are you opposed to fracking ? Then you might just be a terrorist

From North America to Europe, the ‘national security‘ apparatus is being bought off by Big Oil to rout peaceful activism
Climate and anti-fracking activists blocade site

Are the hundreds of peaceful protesters who blockaded the Cuadrilla oil drilling site outside Balcombe, West Sussex, dangerous “extremists”? Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Over the last year, a mass of shocking evidence has emerged on the close ties between Western government spy agencies and giant energycompanies, and their mutual interests in criminalising anti-fracking activists.

Activists tarred with the same brush

In late 2013, official documents obtained under freedom of information showed that Canada‘s domestic spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), had ramped up its surveillance of activists opposed to the Northern Gateway pipeline project on ‘national security’ grounds. The CSIS also routinely passed information about such groups to the project’s corporate architect, Calgary-based energy company, Enbridge.

The Northern Gateway is an $8 billion project to transport oil from the Alberta tar sands to the British Columbia coast, where it can be shipped to global markets. According to the documents a Canadian federal agency, the National Energy Board, worked with CSIS and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to coordinate with Enbridge, TransCanada, and other energy corporations in gathering intelligence on anti-fracking activists – despite senior police privately admitting they “could not detect a direct or specific criminal threat.”

Now it has emerged that former cabinet minister Chuck Strahl – the man appointed by Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper to head up the CSIS’ civilian oversight panel, the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) – has been lobbying for Enbridge since 2011.

But that’s not all. According to CBC News, only one member of Strahl’s spy watchdog committee “has no ties to either the current government or the oil industry.” For instance, SIRC member Denis Losier sits on the board of directors of Enbridge-subsidiary, Enbridge NB, while Yves Fortier, is a former board member of TransCanada, the company behind the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Counter-insurgency in the homeland

Investigative journalist Steve Horn reports that TransCanada has also worked closely with American law-enforcement and intelligence agencies in attempting to criminalise US citizens opposed to the pipeline. Files obtained under freedom of information last summer showed that in training documents for the FBI and US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), TransCanada suggested that non-violent Keystone XL protestors could be deterred using criminal and anti-terror statutes:

“… the language in some of the documents is so vague that it could also ensnare journalists, researchers and academics, as well.”

According to the Earth Island Journal, official documents show that TransCanada “has established close ties with state and federal law enforcement agencies along the proposed pipeline route.” But TransCanada is only one example of “the revolving door between state law enforcement agencies and the private sector, especially in areas where fracking and pipeline construction have become big business.”

This has had a tangible impact. In March last year, US law enforcement officials had infiltrated and spied on environmentalists attending a tar sands resistance camp in Oklahoma, leading to the successful pre-emptive disruption of their protest action.

Just last December, other activists in Oklahoma faced terror charges for draping an anti-fracking banner in the lobby of the offices housing US oil and gas company, Devon Energy. The two protestors were charged with carrying out a “terrorism hoax” for using gold glitter on their banner, some of which happened to scatter to the floor of the building – depicted by a police spokesman as a potentially “dangerous or toxic” substance in the form of a “black powder,” causing a panic.

But Suzanne Goldenberg reports a different account:

“After a few uneventful minutes, [the activists] Stephenson and Warner took down the banner and left the building – apologising to the janitor who came hurrying over with a broom. A few people, clutching coffee cups, wandered around in the lobby below, according to Stephenson. But she did not detect much of a response to the banner. There wasn’t even that much mess, she said. The pair had used just four small tubes of glitter on their two banners.”

The criminalisation of peaceful activism under the rubric of ‘anti-terrorism’ is an escalating trend linked directly to corporate co-optation of the national security apparatus. In one egregious example, thousands of pages of government records confirm how local US police departments, the FBI and the DHS monitored Occupy activists nationwide as part of public-private intelligence sharing with banks and corporations.

Anti-fracking activists in particular have come under increased FBI surveillance in recent years under an expanded definition of ‘eco-terrorism‘, although the FBI concedes that eco-terrorism is on the decline. This is consistent with US defence planning documents over the last decade which increasingly highlight the danger of domestic “insurgencies” due to the potential collapse of public order under various environmental, energy or economic crises.

Manufacturing “consensus”

In the UK, Scotland Yard’s National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (which started life as the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit and later became the National Domestic Extremism Unit), has had a long record of equating the spectre of “domestic extremism” with “single-issue protests, such as animal rights, anti-war, anti-globalisation and anti-GM crops.” Apart from animal rights, these movements have been “overwhelmingly peaceful” points out George Monbiot.

This has not prevented the police unit from monitoring almost 9,000 Britons deemed to hold “radical political views,” ranging from “anti-capitalists” to “anti-war demonstrators.” Increasingly though, according to a Guardian investigation, the unit “is known to have focused its resources on spying on environmental campaigners, particularly those engaged in direct action and civil disobedience to protest against climate change.”

Most recently, British police have gone so far as to conduct surveillance of Cambridge University students involved in social campaigns like anti-fracking, education, anti-fascism, and opposition to austerity, despite a lack of reason to suspect criminal activity.

This is no accident. Yesterday, senior Tory and ex-Cabinet minister Lord Deben, chairman of the UK government-sponsored Committee on Climate Change, characterised anyone suggesting that fracking is “devastatingly damaging” as a far-left “extremist,” holding “nonsensical” views associated with “Trotskyite” dogma. In contrast, he described “moderate” environmentalists as situated safely in the legitimate spectrum of a “broad range of consensus” across “all political parties.”

In other words, if you are disillusioned with the existing party political system and its approach to environmental issues, you are an extremist.

Deben’s comments demonstrate the regressive mindset behind the British government’s private collaboration with shale gas industry executives to “manage the British public’s hostility to fracking,” as revealed in official emails analysed by Damien Carrington.

The emails exposed the alarming extent to which government is “acting as an arm of the gas industry,” compounding earlier revelations that Department of Energy and Climate Change employees involved in drafting UK energy policy have been seconded from UK gas corporations.

Public opinion is the enemy

The latest polling data shows that some 47% of Britons “would not be happy for a gas well site using fracking to open within 10 miles of their home,” with just 14% saying they would be happy. By implication, the government views nearly half of the British public as potential extremists merely for being sceptical of shale gas.

This illustrates precisely why the trend-line of mass surveillance exemplified in the Snowden disclosures has escalated across the Western world. From North America to Europe, the twin spectres of “terrorism” and “extremism” are being disingenuously deployed by an ever more centralised nexus of corporate, state and intelligence power, to suppress widening public opposition to that very process of unaccountable centralisation.

But then, what’s new? Back in 1975, the Trilateral Commission – a network of some 300 American, European and Japanese elites drawn from business, banking, government, academia and media founded by Chase Manhattan Bank chairman David Rockerfeller – published an influential study called The Crisis of Democracy.

The report concluded that the problems of governance “stem from an excess of democracy” which makes government “less powerful and more active” due to being “overloaded with participants and demands.” This democratic excess at the time consisted of:

“… a marked upswing in other forms of citizen participation, in the form of marches, demonstrations, protest movements, and ’cause’ organizations… [including] markedly higher levels of self-consciousness on the part of blacks, Indians, Chicanos, white ethnic groups, students, and women… [and] a general challenge to existing systems of authority, public and private… People no longer felt the same compulsion to obey those whom they had previously considered superior to themselves in age, rank, status, expertise, character, or talents.”

The solution, therefore, is “to restore the prestige and authority of central government institutions,” including “hegemonic power” in the world. This requires the government to somehow “reinforce tendencies towards political passivity” and to instill “a greater degree of moderation in democracy.” This is because:

“… the effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires some measure of apathy and noninvolvement on the part of some individuals and groups… In itself, this marginality on the part of some groups is inherently undemocratic, but it has also been one of the factors which has enabled democracy to function effectively.”

Today, such official sentiments live on in the form of covert psychological operations targeted against Western publics by the CIAPentagon andMI6, invariably designed to exaggerate threats to manipulate public opinion in favour of government policy.

As the global economy continues to suffocate itself, and as publics increasingly lose faith in prevailing institutions, the spectre of ‘terror’ is an increasingly convenient tool to attempt to restore authority by whipping populations into panic-induced subordination.

Evidently, however, what the nexus of corporate, state and intelligence power fears the most is simply an “excess of democracy”: the unpalatable prospect of citizens rising up and taking power back.

Dr Nafeez Ahmed is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save It among other books. Follow him on Twitter@nafeezahmed

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Nuclear weapons must be eradicated for all our sakes- Desmond Tutu

No nation should own nuclear arms – not Iran, not North Korea, and not their critics who take the moral high ground

(FILES) This file picture taken by North

As an Oslo conference on nuclear weapons starts, we should not accept that a ‘select few nations can ensure the security of all by having the capacity to destroy all.’ Photograph: Kns/AFP/Getty Images

We cannot intimidate others into behaving well when we ourselves are misbehaving. Yet that is precisely what nations armed with nuclear weapons hope to do by censuring North Korea for its nuclear tests and sounding alarm bells over Iran’s pursuit of enriched uranium. According to their logic, a select few nations can ensure the security of all by having the capacity to destroy all.


Until we overcome this double standard – until we accept that nuclear weapons are abhorrent and a grave danger no matter who possesses them, that threatening a city with radioactive incineration is intolerable no matter the nationality or religion of its inhabitants – we are unlikely to make meaningful progress in halting the spread of these monstrous devices, let alone banishing them from national arsenals.


Why, for instance, would a proliferating state pay heed to the exhortations of the US and Russia, which retain thousands of their nuclear warheads on high alert? How can Britain, France and China expect a hearing on non-proliferation while they squander billions modernising their nuclear forces? What standing has Israel to urge Iran not to acquire the bomb when it harbours its own atomic arsenal?


Nuclear weapons do not discriminate; nor should our leaders. The nuclear powers must apply the same standard to themselves as to others: zero nuclear weapons. Whereas the international community has imposed blanket bans on other weapons with horrendous effects – from biological and chemical agents to landmines and cluster munitions – it has not yet done so for the very worst weapons of all. Nuclear weapons are still seen as legitimate in the hands of some. This must change.


Around 130 governments, various UN agencies, the Red Cross and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons are gathering in Oslo this week to examine the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons and the inability of relief agencies to provide an effective response in the event of a nuclear attack. For too long, debates about nuclear arms have been divorced from such realities, focusing instead on geopolitics and narrow concepts of national security.


With enough public pressure, I believe that governments can move beyond the hypocrisy that has stymied multilateral disarmament discussions for decades, and be inspired and persuaded to embark on negotiations for a treaty to outlaw and eradicate these ultimate weapons of terror. Achieving such a ban would require somewhat of a revolution in our thinking, but it is not out of the question. Entrenched systems can be turned on their head almost overnight if there’s the will.


Let us not forget that it was only a few years ago when those who spoke about green energy and climate change were considered peculiar. Now it is widely accepted that an environmental disaster is upon us. There was once a time when people bought and sold other human beings as if they were mere chattels, things. But people eventually came to their senses. So it will be the case for nuclear arms, sooner or later.


Indeed, 184 nations have already made a legal undertaking never to obtain nuclear weapons, and three in four support a universal ban. In the early 1990s, with the collapse of apartheid nigh, South Africa voluntarily dismantled its nuclear stockpile, becoming the first nation to do so. This was an essential part of its transition from a pariah state to an accepted member of the family of nations. Around the same time, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine also relinquished their Soviet-era atomic arsenals.


But today nine nations still consider it their prerogative to possess these ghastly bombs, each capable of obliterating many thousands of innocent civilians, including children, in a flash. They appear to think that nuclear weapons afford them prestige in the international arena. But nothing could be further from the truth. Any nuclear-armed state, big or small, whatever its stripes, ought to be condemned in the strongest terms for possessing these indiscriminate, immoral weapons.


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People should resist enforcement of UID scheme, say experts #Aadhaar

By Newzfirst Correspondent3/2/13

Bangalore – Internationally recognized expert on law and poverty Dr. Usha Ramanathan Saturday urged citizens of the country to question the enforcement of the UID scheme that has no legitimacy.

Addressing the gathering of people from various sections of the society at a workshop- The Unique Identity Number (UID), National Population Register (NPR), and Governance – organized by the ‘Centre for Internet and Society’ and the ‘Say No to UID Campaign’ Ramanathan said that the enforcement of UID scheme is unconstitutional and a mere a experiment on the population.

The scheme is full of ambiguity, confusions and suspicions; while UIDAI says it as voluntary, other government agencies and enterprises have made them mandatory. Neither the government nor the UIDAI officials have the satisfactory answers for the concerns of citizens, she said.

Saying that the ‘Data’ is one of the important properties today, she elaborated that how the individual’s privacy and confidential data was breached after sharing with many companies and agencies, despite the assurances from the authorities.

Emphasizing the resistance against enforcement of UID scheme, another speaker Col. Mathew Thomas of Citizen Action Forum Bangalore, said “If we don’t resist this scheme now, we are putting pushing poor people of the country into more vulnerable situation. We need to fight it by protests and legal means.”

The workshop also discussed the National Population register (NPR), its impact on citizenship and the governance, and how they are linked with national security.


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P Sainath- -‘ Biometric data you can buy on streets of Mumbai ” #UID #Aadhar #Nationalsecurity

Photo courtesy- G . N Mohan, Bangalore

P Sainath‘s remarks at the public meeting organised recently  by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis:

(He says, at the end of 45 minutes, that he hasn’t yet touched upon a whole bunch of security issues, naming some of the more well-known civil/violent agitations, and then goes on) Oh yeah, I think that we are also involved in a number of other active processes that undermine [your] our insecurity, including the UID. OK. By the way, that outsourced biometric work. You can buy that data on the streets of Mumbai. It’s already made its way there. What sort of national security will you have when your biometric data is up for grabs all around the planet? You outsourced it to subcontractors who have subcontracted it to further people. It’s now available on the streets of Mumbai, biometric data.
Another thing let me tell you about this stupid, stupid idea. Anywhere in the world, anywhere in the world, there is no-one who has made a success of the UID type of system. The UK started this kind of national ID system, abandoned it in four months. Australia, it collapsed at the discussion stage. No other country has made a success of it, one, and no-one claims that it is is technologically infallible, and three, very importantly, in any society, there is 5 % to 7 % of the population that does not have any fingerprints. In India, that is 15% +, because of agricultural labour: they do not have fingerprints. OK? The washerwomen, they do not have fingerprints. A lot of professions in India: and those are the very people who will get de-accessed from your public distribution system, using the UID. The very people who need your public distribution system, the very people who need your social sector benefits, these are the very people who will be excluded from it, because they don’t have fingerprints. You are asking for big, big trouble, with this project.

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