Is Aadhaar smoke screen for NRC in Telangana?

Syed Hurairah

Hyderabad: The notices which Unique Identification Authority of India have sent to 127 persons has created confusion and struck fear in the hearts of a section of the Muslim community not just in Hyderabad but also in other parts of Telangana.

It was recently reported that UIDAI sent a notice to Mohammed Sattar Khan who is a resident of Talab Katta in Hyderabad’s Old City, directing him to prove his citizenship at a hearing before Amita Bindu, the Deputy Director of Regional Office of the UIDAI in Hyderabad. What has struck fear in the hearts of several individuals in the fact that the exercise, that of demanding Sattar to produce ‘all documents’ to  prove his citizenship bears an eerie and uncanny resemblance to the National Register of Citizens project as seen in Assam.

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“I was shocked after what happened in that Aadhaar case. I haven’t been able to sleep because of it. Is the Telangana government in collusion with the Centre quietly going ahead with NRC, keeping us Muslims in the dark?” said Mohammed Abdur Raheem, a techie who is keenly following the NRC, NPR and Citizenship Amendment Act developments.

The National Register of Citizens mandates that those who have been deemed as doubtful citizens produce documents to prove that they are Indian citizens. An excerpt from the UIDAI notice sent to Khan reads thus: “You are hereby directed to appear before the undersigned/Enquiry officer at 11.00 hours on 20th February at Mega Gardens, Royal Colony, Near Diamond Hotel Balapur, Rangareddy district, Telangana – 500005, with all the necessary documents in original to prove all your claims of citizenship and if you are not an Indian National, to prove you have entered the territory of an Indian legally and your stay is valid.”

Social activist S Q Masood, who recently moved the High Court against NPR by means of a Public Interest Litigation, claimed that UIDAI has overstepped its authority. “The UIDAI cannot ask anybody to prove citizenship. Aadhaar card is not a document which proves citizenship. It is a document which shows that you are a resident of India. Also, what is more important is that who has approached UIDAI with data about these 127 persons,” he said.

Sources at UIDAI has said it has acted at the instance of State Police.  But the police have maintained steady silence on the subject.

The question which is being asked is this: If the police have already found that these 127 persons are illegal residents why it is approaching the UIDAI.  Why can’t it say so and deport them.  That is what the police is supposed to do in case of illegal residents or those who have over stayed their visa period.

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