Rethink Aadhaar condemns the Delhi Government’s move to make quoting the Aadhaar number mandatory on the compensation forms for victims of the ongoing Delhi Riots. The provision of compensation is a basic necessity and need that the Delhi Government is obligated to fulfil in order for the city of Delhi to rebuild and recover.

Even as we write this letter, civil society organisations and student bodies are working towards ensuring timely relief work. The death toll is still rising, as volunteers are now discovering unclaimed dead bodies from several parts of North-East Delhi. As of 2 March, the official death toll remains at 42 even though four more bodies were fished out of drains in North-East Delhi on Sunday. The wounded are still grappling with the reality of the extremely tedious paperwork at hospitals. First-hand witnesses are figuring out ways to deal with the documentation and evidence collection

Homes, possessions, properties, valuables, and lives have been lost in this violence. In this ongoing crisis, many have lost everything in arson incidents including their identity cards. To ask survivors of a riot, which has also been described as a pogrom, to prove their identity is both impractical and often an impossibility. This is the latest brutal example of the shifting of the state’s burden of identifying and compensating victims of violence upon the victims themselves. We strongly advocate that the Delhi Government work proactively towards assuaging the persons and families affected by the violence and towards compensating them. We cannot emphasize enough the need for urgent unconditional government interventions with timely relief.

The Aadhaar project, at the best of times, does not work. It is riddled with problems, the very least of include wrong names, birth dates, addresses, incorrectly entered details. To make such a shoddy system a prior condition for aid in a time of disaster and crisis is reprehensible and must be stopped.

The Delhi Government must remove the demand for Aadhaar numbers from its compensation forms. We further urge the government to take all necessary steps to provide full aid and support to the survivors of the Delhi Riots without imposing any further conditions.

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