Following the Supreme Court’s August 11 orders on Aadhaar, the Election Commission of India issued notices on Thursday suspending “with immediate effect till further orders” all activities to collect and feed Aadhar numbers of voters as part of its National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme. It has also duly withdrawn all publicity activities to collect Aadhaar numbers of citizens for seeding in the electoral database.
The directions have made it clear though that all other activities under NERPAP to “purify” the poll process will continue. Meanwhile, civil liberties activists have called for delinking the already merged voter ID card details from the Unique Identification (UID) number.
Activist group’s plea
In a letter written to the Chief Election Commissioner on Saturday, the Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties has highlighted that the UIDAI in a 14-page document titled ‘Strategic Vision: Unique Identification of Residents’ prepared by Wipro Ltd and submitted to the Processes Committee of the Planning Commission envisaged the close linkage that the UIDAI would have with the Electoral Database in 2006-2007 itself.
Referring to the proposal to merge the Election ID cards with UID as an exercise in rewriting and engineering the electoral ecosystem, the letter underlines that the use of biometric technology and EVMs is not as innocent and as politically neutral as it has been made out to be. Given that it amounts to surveillance of the citizen’s political choices, the organisation has further demanded that all databases containing such information be dismantled immediately.
It has also withdrawn all publicity activities to collect Aadhaar numbers for seeding in electoral database.
8. Two Indian children scale Kalapathar peak in Nepal
Two Indian siblings, 5-year-old Kandarp Sharma and 8-year-old Ritwika, have successfully climbed the Kalapathar peak, which is higher than the highest peaks in the U.S., Europe and Antarctica, to reach the base camp of Mount Everest, becoming the youngest climbers to reach the destination.