In a shocking revelation made before the Assam state assembly, the state’s minister for General Administration, Ranjeet Kumar Dass, admitted that the Aadhaar enrolment of 27,43,396 is in limbo. Their biometrics had been collected during the Claims and Objections process that was initiated after the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published in July 2018. This includes the 19,06,657 people who were eventually excluded from the final NRC published in August 2019.
The question was raised by All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Ashraful Hussain. Dass revealed that now it was up to the center to decide if their Aadhaar enrolment would be considered valid. The biometrics of these 27 lakh people had been frozen after the final NRC was published and though an appeal had been made to the center to unfreeze them, given how the NRC has not been recognized so far as a document of citizenship, the process has not moved forward.
This has adversely impacted the lives of people who have been denied social entitlements linked to Aadhaar. It is noteworthy that Aadhaar is linked to virtually every aspect of one’s life from banking to cooking gas connection, to housing under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), to direct transfer of subsidies to availing food at subsidised costs from the Public Distribution System.
Here’s a list that shows the number of people excluded from each district. Nagaon has the maximum number of exclusions, followed by Barpeta, with Darrang, Hojai and Cachar rounding up the top five.
This is yet another example of the regime’s apathy towards the suffering of those it views as “outsiders”. Even the state government, which is formed by the same party, has a completely different set of priorities as is evidenced in its recent actions and policies like evictions amidst Covid and monsoon, to the introduction of the new cow protection bill.
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