On July 16, the Delhi High Court directed the Election Commission of India (ECI), to consider a plea for an Aadhaar-based voting system, in response to a PIL filed by BJP member Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. The petition “proposes an e-voting system using fingerprint and face biometric” and, for that purpose, linking of Aadhaar number with voter ID. Such a system, the petition claims, will lead to an increase in voting percentage while also preventing bogus or fraudulent voting.
While the government is trying hard to crush every voice against Aadhaar, one person from Mumbai not only fought, but also won against the government's mandatory linking policy. Hear Mr Ramesh Kurhade of Mumbai Port Trust as he shares the story of his unwavering fight against Aadhaar.
A number of concerned citizens and NGOs have come together to felicitate Mr Kurhade in the hope that his experience will give courage to others. The felicitation and his talk will be followed by brief interventions from additional speakers: Dr. Anupam Saraph, Vickram Crishna, Raghu (aka godavar), Vidyut Gore, Elisha Ebenezer, and more.
We are alarmed and concerned at the government’s vision to collate comprehensive, exhaustive data about every citizen and making it available for commercial use by private entities as stated in the budget document the Economic Survey 2018-19 published on July 4. Chapter 4 of the Economic Survey (a budget document laid before parliament) Data “Of the People, By the People, For the People argues for expanding collection and interlinking of comprehensive data on citizens, violating Supreme Court judgments on privacy and Aadhaar.
Rethink Aadhaar has been reaching out to several Members of Parliament (MPs) requesting them to demand that the Bill be sent to a Parliamentary Standing Committee, so as to ensure a thorough public consultation. Yet, while the government insists "Indians have accepted Aadhaar" - and enjoys numerical superiority in the Lok Sabha - we need to collectively raise our voices and denounce Aadhaar in the strongest terms, and ensure that our representatives echo us.
While we continue to wait for a favorable review of the judgement upholding PAN-Aadhaar linking, many citizens are opposing this rule in the spirit of civil disobedience against enrolling in a project which poses a lifelong threat for one’s personal security. There is much evidence that raises serious concerns about potential loss of identity, fraud (including identity fraud), and privacy. This is apart from the deeply problematic nature of both the manner in which enrollments have happened and continue to happen.
Late in the evening of February 28, 2019, in the midst of a critical situation at the Indian border, the Central Government issued the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, which seeks to revive the commercial use of the biometrics-linked 12-digit Aadhaar number which the Supreme Court had specifically struck down as being unconstitutional in September 2018. By promulgating this ordinance, the government is attempting to push through the Amendments to the Aadhaar Act, which it had failed to pass through Parliament and in particular the Rajya Sabha where it lacks a majority. The passage of this ordinance shows the Central government’s contempt of democratic and legislative institutions and signals the further weakening of our most basic democratic structures.
Hundreds of Adivasi farmers protest denial of foodgrain by use of Aadhaar in Public Distribution System
Hundreds of Adivasis of several villages of Jharkhand’s Khuntpani block (West Singhbhum district) protested at the block administration’s office on February 28 against the denial of ration, use of Aadhaar and other irregularities in the Public Distribution System.
Ration has not been distributed in some villages since several months. Cardholders of Ulirajabasa did not get ration in September-December 2018 and February 2019, one month in 2017 and three months in 2016. People of Ankolkuti have not received their grain entitlements for August-September and November-December 2018.
Some of you might already be clued in on what our politicians are planning for their election manifestos. In terms of Aadhaar, while there may not be any immediately positive indications, efforts are underway to push parties to take a stated stance to at least ensure that Aadhaar is purely a voluntary id similar to other Officially Valid Document(OVDs). However, we will need to push the demand through to all political parties we can possibly contact.
The memorandum related to the problems has been given to the SDM of the Tehsil by Rita, Ayesha, Rekha, on behalf of the Mahila Chetna Samiti Sangathan and by Gautam, Sheela, and Rukhsana from the MNREGA Mazdoor Union. The administration has assured resolution of the problem within 15 days. If the problem is not resolved then the workers will protest at the district level.
Over 260 organisations and concerned citizens across the spectrum of Indian society have written (read the letter) to the Vice President of India, who is also the Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, and the Prime Minister demanding that the Aadhaar Amendments Bill and DNA Bill be subjected to greater scrutiny by sending them to the appropriate Parliamentary committees.