Deactivation of Aadhaar An Attempt To Introduce NRC Through Backdoor: Forum Against NRC

Kolkata, Feb. 21, 2024: Joint Forum Against NRC, a conglomerate of organizations protesting the citizenship tripod, has alleged that the centre has been deliberately trying to introduce the NRC through the “back door” by deactivating Aadhaar using section 28A of Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulation, 2018, which exclusively meant for foreign nationals.

The Forum has termed “section 28A” as “illegal”, which it alleged incorporated in the Aadhaar regulations “secretly” without any discussion in the parliament.

While the deactivation has unleashed panic among a large section of people particularly among Matuas and those living near areas close to the Indo-Bangladesh border and both Trinamul and BJP have been trying to exploit the situation politically, the Forum has planned to send a legal notice to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is responsible for Aadhaar enrollment, questioning the legality of deactivation under the section 28A, that in other terms identify citizens.

At the same time, it has demanded a categorical statement from the union Home Ministry annulling such deactivation that unleashed panic among a large section of people.

The pro-Trinamul faction of the All India Matua Mahasangha, a leading organization of the Matuas, has also made a similar demand.

If the centre refuses to respond within a considerable time, the Forum will file a petition challenging the centre on section 28A of Aadhaar regulations as it did in the case of the CAA. 

“Section 28A is illegal and needs to be challenged in court in the public interest. We would welcome the state government if it comes up to challenge this provision, else our joint forum will do it”, Convenor of the forum Prasenjit Bose said.

“The people should understand the actual motive behind the deactivation under the section. It means that the concerned person is being treated as a foreigner”, he alleged.

On the other hand, the Matua organization has announced launching a mass movement on the issue as they also alleged the deactivation of Aadhaar is an “attempt to introduce NRC” in other way being failed to implement the CAA due to pending cases at the Supreme Court.

Speaking to The NfN, Bose, an eminent economist, said, “Section 28A of Aadhaar regulation applies to foreign nationals only. Using this section of the regulation indicates that the UIDAI is trying to identify these Aadhaar holders as foreigners and in another way trying to identify the citizens of India, an authority which it does not enjoy”.

Section 28A, which deals with “Deactivation of certain Aadhaar numbers” in respect of foreign states – Aadhaar numbers may be deactivated— (a) upon expiry of the period of validity of their visa for stay in India; or (b) where the Authority is satisfied that such foreign national does not fulfill the requirements for his entry into or stay in India under the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 (34 of 1920), and the rules made thereunder and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in this regard from time to time.

The UIDAI authority has in a statement advised people to lodge complaints on the Aadhar portal. But many people think that this could further multiply their problem.

Bose said, “Registering any grievance against deactivation of Aadhaar could be a risky affair since all these notices for deactivation were sent under newly the newly Incorporated section 28A. By sending notice of deactivation under the section It is obvious that the centre inquiring about the citizenship issue”

“This new section was incorporated during September last year…”, Bose said adding that the state government should have asked the centre about the legality of this section by now.

“It appears that our Chief minister was aware of the possible deactivation of Aadhaar as she last year stated to have received a letter on the matter from Delhi. But she has not so far challenged the centre on it rather confused people further by proposing a parallel Aadhaar system, Bose added.

Meanwhile, the pro-Trinamul faction of the All India Matua Mahasangha asked the community members not to lodge any complaint at the UIDAI portal as it too apprehend further “problems” for the Aadhaar holder.

The organization which has planned to hit the road, mobilized the community members against the centre this weekend protesting the deactivation of the Unique Identification Number (Aadhaar).

Joint Secretary of the organization Prasenjit Biswas, a lawyer by profession, told The NfN, “Unless the deactivation notices are withdrawn we may also consider legal steps to protect our people”.

The pro-Trinamul Maria organization wants to exploit this deactivation issue to woo the community voters who are somewhat restless and anxious about the delay in implementation of the citizenship act promised by the BJP that eroded the ruling party’s support base.

Matua leader and BJP MP Shantanu Thakur has “rubbished” the allegations. “Trinamul and CPM trying to unleash fear among people. The matter has been taken up with the centre and there is nothing to fear”, he said.

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