‘Aadhaar-less citizens can be eliminated’: Fears around misuse by state coming true

Aadhaar, aadhaar card

Social activist Shabnam recorded a policeman telling her those without Aadhaar could be ‘eliminated’

 

LATEST NEWS : If the threats made by one police officer in Delhi are true, the government seems to have launched a ‘surround and eliminate’ campaign against people whose addresses are not known and who do not possess Aadhaar numbers or cards. Incredible though it sounds, a police officer told social activist Shabnam Hashmi that this is now a standing instruction to all police stations. Moreover, the officer –  accused of threatening and abusing Hashmi when she called him on the night of July 14 to know why the husband of a woman, who learns stitching at a training centre run by the NGO Pehchan at Jaitpur in south-east Delhi, had been summoned at a late hour – insisted that police personnel were well within their rights to act in this way.

 

The police may brush aside this assertion as the concerned officer’s personal opinion, or they may choose to even deny the veracity of the conversation, which Hashmi recorded and shared with the media; but the fact of the matter is that it raises questions about the consequences – intended or unintended – of the Centre’s stress on making Aadhaar mandatory for the personal liberty and civil rights of ordinary residents.

 

Many Aadhaar critics have, in the past, expressed the fear that the irresponsible use or misuse of Aadhaar could lead to India becoming a ‘surveillance state’ or ‘police state’  by placing enormous discretionary powers in the hands of unscrupulous state officials.

 

Petitioners in SC had cautioned against misuse of Aadhaar

 

Earlier this year, Communist Party of India leader Binoy Viswam had filed a petition in the Supreme Court questioning the introduction of Section 139 AA of the IT Act to link Aadhaar cards with PAN cards. Subsequently, in an interview in April this year, he had noted that “the citizens are becoming instruments in the hands of the state” as “by taking fingerprints, iris scans and other details of the citizens of the country, the state is becoming the custodian of its people.” He had also expressed the fear that “the state can use this data according to its whims and fancies”.

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