Fresh reports of Aadhar deactivation surface in Bengal despite UIDAI’s assurance | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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Fresh reports of Aadhar deactivation surface in Bengal despite UIDAI’s assurance

Feb 21, 2024 07:44 PM IST

Fresh reports of Aadhaar card deactivation in West Bengal districts despite UIDAI denial. Political row ensues, Mamata Banerjee accuses BJP of targeting Dalit Matua community.

Kolkata: Fresh reports of deactivation of Aadhaar cards of citizens surfaced in several districts of West Bengal on Wednesday, 48 hours after the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said it is updating its database and no number has been cancelled.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has accused the Centre of cancelling the Aadhaar cards of several residents in the state (ANI)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has accused the Centre of cancelling the Aadhaar cards of several residents in the state (ANI)

At least 100 people from Nadia, Malda, South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas districts told the local authorities and media that they received letters from UIDAI informing them that their cards had been deactivated.

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“My wife is unwell and I have to take her to a doctor. When I failed to withdraw money from my bank account I found that my Aadhaar card has been deactivated,” Krishna Das, a resident of Malda, told reporters.

As these deactivations, which started last week, triggered a political row in Bengal, the UIDAI authorities in Delhi said in a statement on Monday that messages are sent to Aadhaar card holders from time to time to keep the Aadhaar database updated but no number has been cancelled.

While fresh reports of deactivation surfaced in four districts, around 50 residents of Jamalpur in West Burdwan district celebrated on Wednesday when they found that their cards had been reactivated.

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this issue on Monday, a day after alleging at a government event that a mass deactivation of the cards was being done to deprive poor people of her welfare schemes before the Lok Sabha polls.

Since most of the affected people are members of the Dalit Matua community from Bangladesh - who entered Bengal as refugees after Partition and the 1971 Bangladesh War – Banerjee alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants to enforce the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Bengal.

Although the Centre has maintained silence on NRC, Union home minister Amit Shah said on February 10 that CAA will be implemented across India before the Lok Sabha elections.

Passed by Parliament in 2020, CAA offers citizenship to non-Muslims who entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh before 2015. TMC insists that CAA is unconstitutional as it links citizenship to faith in a secular country.

Also Read: Mamata writes to PM Modi over ‘deactivation’ of Aadhaar cards

On Sunday, Banerjee ordered state government officials to launch a portal where people could register their complaints regarding Aadhaar deactivation. Reacting to this, Union minster of state for shipping and BJP Lok Sabha member from North 24 Parganas, Shantanu Thakur opened a helpline and a camp for the affected people and said the deactivation was caused by a “technical error.”

Thakur, a leader of the Matua community, and BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar both promised that the Aadhaar cards would be reactivated soon.

When fresh reports of deactivation surfaced on Wednesday, Thakur said: “As I pointed out earlier, this is a technical error. Nobody will be affected. We are helping people through our camp.”

Majumdar, on the other hand, said: “No card has been deactivated. This is just a propaganda. Sending the letters is part of a routine exercise by UIDAI.”

Banerjee has continued to target the Centre.

Addressing an event on the occasion of World Mother Language Day in Kolkata, she said: “This is a conspiracy against Bengal. They (BJP) want to enforce CAA and NRC but we will not allow it.”

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