All Are Numbers

The Meaning of Aadhaar De-Activation

Suman Sengupta

Today's people no longer have identities, everyone is a number. By the will of the state he is alive; by the will of the state he is dead.

Edward Snowden, a few years ago, said that India's Aadhaar scheme would enslave people by stripping them of their identity. Shouldn't these words be said more forcefully in view of UIDAI's letter to many people of Bengal and the country in recent times?

There is noise all around. Many people are receiving letters from the Aadhaar authorities i.e. UIDAI that their Aadhaar has been deactivated. The letter made it clear that since these people could not fulfill the conditions for living in India, this action was taken in their case. Those who have received this letter have fallen on a hard rock, they do not understand where to go, to whom they can get a remedy. Politicians have also come down to the field. The Bengal leaders of the ruling party at the centre have given three different statements; none of them are similar to each other. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president, Sukanta Majumder said he had spoken to the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, that there is no reason for anyone to worry; everyone's Aadhaar will be reactivated. Union Minister of State for Shipping, Shantanu Thakur, went a step further and said that complaints should be made on his personal email and phone number. Leader of Opposition Subvendu Adhikari, just as he saw through Mamata Banerjee's machinations, saw the same this time. He said that no Aadhaar card has been cancelled; Mamata Banerjee has sent this letter in coordination with UIDAI's Ranchi office. The opposition party leader is still lying; many people have received such letters across the country. In 2020, two youths from Bangalore received such letters, asking them to appear for hearings. They went to that place and saw that many people like them had received this letter. Later UIDAI stopped sending this letter as it was then.

It is known that UIDAI has posted about 1 lakh such letters for now. Many BJP leaders are now trying to say that it is a technical glitch. If that is also assumed to be true, then the question remains, what does the post office letter have to do with the technical glitch. That means it's not a technical glitch, it's done consciously. Another leader of BJP from Bengal, Asim Sarkar has directly said that if BJP is not voted, many more people's Aadhaar may be deactivated. That means more people can lose citizenship.

Although Mamata Banerjee has said that she will open a helpline and solve these difficulties or problems, that too is not realistic. That may provide some temporary relief, but it is not a complete solution. Actually Aadhaar and citizenship are linked though not directly linked. According to the judgment of the highest court of the country, Aadhaar is not a proof of citizenship, Aadhaar is not a birth certificate, Aadhaar is only an authentication tool, but what is said in Section 28A of the Aadhaar Act brought by Narendra Modi in 2016, can be understood only if one reads a little. Yes, this kind of incident does not happen only in villages, but anyone can get such a letter. NPR is the first stage of NRC i.e. National Register. As a result of NRC in Assam, about 19 lakh people have become stateless. But still the Aadhaar of 17 lakh people in Assam has not been activated. It is also heard that the chief minister will approach the country's highest court regarding the issue. In the coming days, this work of civil registration will be done in a very normal process, because when Aadhaar was updated in 2015, NPR was done for most of the people. Those who have seen it know that NRC is closely related to CAA or Citizenship Act. Anyone would be scared to guess what Aadhaar has to do with NPR. What to do then can become a problem for that person. Now is the time to unite, time to say, ‘we do not accept Aadhaar, we will not give Aadhaar anywhere’. Government services should be given to people by any other contact. Mahatma Gandhi led a movement against such an identity card in South Africa. Non-cooperation with the South African government was his method of agitation. If the civil society does not raise the voice of this Aadhaar destruction, and say that the government elected by their votes, how it can make them non-citizens by switching off a switch, and non-cooperation movement against the government, and if political parties and individuals do not go deep into this issue, then there is danger ahead.

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Vol 56, No. 41, Apr 7 - 13, 2024