More than a 100 people in a Hyderabad neighbourhood have been asked by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to verify their Aadhaar enrolment documents in person or face a suspension or cancellation of their 12-digit identity number that underpins access to government subsidies.
The matter first came to light when a letter sent to 40-year-old autorickshaw driver Mohd Sattar Khan was widely shared on social media websites. The letter, seen by HT, asked him to appear before a UIDAI official on February 20 “with all necessary documents in original to prove all his claims of Indian citizenship”.
“If you are not an Indian national, prove that you have entered the territory of India legally and your stay is valid,” the notice, served under Rule 30 (Chapter VI) of Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulations, 2016, said. The notice also mentions a “complaint/objection”, without specifying who objected to Khan’s Aadhaar enrolment.
Later on Tuesday, the UIDAI issued a statement saying that its Hyderabad office received reports from the state police that 127 people obtained Aadhaar “on false pretences” and were illegal immigrants.
“In the said notice/s, the residents in Hyderabad, 127 in number, were asked to appear before the deputy director on 20th February for a personal hearing. Since it may take them some more time to collect their original documents that they had submitted for obtaining Aadhaar, as informed by the state police, the UIDAI has postponed the personal hearing to May 2020,” the agency said.
“…Aadhaar has got nothing to do with the citizenship issue as such. Aadhaar is not a document of citizenship and UIDAI has been mandated under the Aadhaar Act to ascertain residency of a person in India for 182 days prior to applying for Aadhaar. Also, the Supreme Court of India in its landmark decision has directed UIDAI not to issue Aadhaar to illegal immigrants,” it also said.
Khan was not available for comment but his lawyer Muzafferullah Khan said they will challenge the notice in the Telangana high court, while also appearing before the UIDAI. “They were originally staying at Sanathnagar, where Allwyn factory was located, and later, they moved to the old city. How can he be suspected to be foreign national?” he said.
The incident comes amid heightened apprehension among people, especially those from minority communities, of an identification exercise by the government that could target them if the National Register of Citizens is created across the country.