Anti-social aadhar #UID #NandanNilekani

Residents of two localities in Yerwada perplexed as drunk men identifying themselves as ‘social workers’, turn up to deliver UID card

Nadeem Inamdar

Posted On Friday, July 06, 2012 at 08:30:32 AM



Mahendra Kolhe
Sheetal Kamble received the Aadhar card last Monday through a self-acclaimed social worker

When her doorbell rang, last Monday, Sheetal Kamble opened the door to find a stranger at her doorstep. “He was reeking of alcohol,” she recalls. If she found that offensive, there was more to come.

The inebriated young man was there to deliver her ‘Aadhar card’ — the unique identification card, which is considered a vital document for the future and a highly confidential one at that.

Kamble mistook the man for an employee of the Postal Department, only to be told that he was just a ‘social worker’ passing on the document.

What is worrying is that Kamble is not the only recipient of this unlikely courier. Residents of Panchsheel Nagar and Hussain Shah Baba Nagar, located at Commerzone in Yerwada have been answering doors to unidentified youth showing up with their Aadhar cards, mostly after 9 pm. These strangers identify themselves as ‘social workers’, but the residents are not impressed.

They are aware that the job of distribution of the Aadhar cards has been given to the postal department. They do not understand how and when these so called “social workers” became bonafide couriers of the critical document.

To Ratnamala Chavan, who like Kamble lives in Hussain Shah Baba Nagar,  this trend smacks of sheer irresponsibility on the part of the postal department. “What happens if our Aadhar cards are lost?” she asked. “Worse, what if they are found in wrong hands? At that time, the police will not take our word and instead make trouble for us,” she expressed her fears.

Kuldeep Ghodke, a resident of Panchsheel Nagar, is equally indignant. The Yerwada suburban post office has a pile of Aadhar cards lying around undelivered, he says.

“The postal department has devised an ingenious strategy to shirk their responsibility and outsourced it to strangers masquerading as social groups,” he observed. He too is worried.

“Who will guarantee that our Aadhar card will not get photcopied by strangers and used for their own purpose?” he asked. Ghodke is planning to petition the postal department and the state government over the issue.

The outgoing Deputy Commissioner for Aadhar Cards, Pravin Ashtikar points out that there has been agreement between the State and Union governments that the postal department would be the agency for distribution of Aadhar cards. “Individuals and social organisations cannot do it as it is to be sent only by post to the bonafide holder ,” he added.

Post Master General (Pune Division), Colonel (Retired) KC Mishra says that he is unaware of the development. “I need to find out the details,” he agreed. But K C Kamble, Senior Superintendent of Post, Pune division (East) is categorical that the postal department has not outsourced the responsibility of card distribution to any social organisation. “The cards are being sent by post and not being distributed by the social organisations,” he insisted.

Last year Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had raised doubts about safety of the data collected as part of the unique identification programme. His face-off with Nandan Nilekani, Chairperson, Unique Identity Authority of India, got finally resolved early this year. Now it turns out that the security of the Aadhar card is getting compromised by another arm of the government.

Why children are picking up the gun in Manipur

By Ratnadip Choudhury

Y RAKESH MEITEI of Singjamei in Imphal is a worried man. “Manipuris are used to living amid conflict, but the past three months have been different,” he says. “Today, every parent is afraid, just like me.” In the past three months, around 10 cases of abductions have surfaced in the Imphal valley alone, where parents allege that minors are being abducted or lured by rebel groups to be trained as child soldiers. Amidst widespread anger and protest, the rebels were forced to set free three children. Montu Ahanthem, a child rights activist, says these incidents are on the rise. “The state government should look at it from a social perspective, rather than as a law-andorder situation”.

Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Shanta Sinha, during the commission’s recent stocktaking visit to Manipur, had clearly aired her disappointment at the Okram Ibobi Singh government’s failure in controlling child-trafficking and abduction by underground groups. Elsewhere, groups like the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) of Meghalaya and the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) have also recruited minors in hundreds. “The commission has decided to take up this issue suo moto, contingent on the situation in Manipur and Meghalaya, and raise it with the Union Home Ministry,” says NCPCR member Yogesh Dube.

The Manipur government has asked every district SP to put together special teams to check child soldier cases. Manipur has one of the highest drop-out rates: 64 percent at the primary level, and 70 at the junior level. “Rebels are losing support here and insurgency is on the decline in Manipur. They feel minors are an easy recruit,” says Manipur Home Minister G Gaikhangam.

Dr Laifungbam Debrabata Roy, of the Centre for Organisation Research & Education (CORE) in Manipur, says children are attracted to the gun culture early on. “They think having a gun wields power. They have seen security forces use the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in a barbaric way. And then there’s poverty, which makes it easier for the rebels to tap the young minds,” Roy opines. Another activist, a National award-winning filmmaker and journalist, Bachaspatimayum Sanzu, says, “I have been able to document child soldiers in many rebel bases, but it is a risky affair here”.

A top commander of a banned outfit, on the condition of anonymity, revealed to TEHELKA the modus operandi: “Minors are an easier lot to train. Initially, the boys cry but they also fall in line quickly, because they are fresh and smart. By the time they are fully trained, they can serve the party for a long time. We even recruit girls, but they are not given arms training. There are some collaborators and freelancers who recruit minors for us on a commission basis.”

Manipur has about 35 banned rebel outfits operating in its hills and valleys. According to activists, 338 children trafficked from Manipur were rescued from outside the state between 2009 and 2012; ironically, no one has records for children trafficked within the state. TEHELKA contacted four families who had lost their children in 2008, never to come back, but all refused to talk because their child is now a ‘rebel’.

Ratnadip Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent with Tehelka.


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July 2012
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