We have been a butt of all elite jokes. We say WE because RAIOT’s publisher, Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR) was one of the founding organisations along with Khasi Students Union and independent-minded religious leaders of Meghalaya of Meghalaya People’s Committee on Aadhaar (MPCA). MPCA was coming together of three different strands of Anti Aadhaar/UID sentiment in Meghalaya – critique of UID as a route to citizenship for migrants (KSU), UID as an invasive surveillance tool (TUR) and most importantly a popular resistance which Unique Identity Number as a way through which state could permanently mark out its sovereignty over the bodies of its citizen like a Mark of the Biblical Beast. For the local elite which buys everything which India throws at it, this Anti Aadhaar coalition has always been a source of irritation. The only thing the state and its compliant elite have not counted on is the popularity of MPCA’s position which could combine a larger ‘intellectual’ critique of UID/Aadhaar project with popular suspicion of state control. MPCA is no simple ‘seminar/conference’ organising funded body but has been going to various parts of rural Meghalaya to listen to the stories of people forced into getting their Aadhaar number and talking about the dangers of this big brother project.
It was in one such meeting that Rev. Kyrsoibor Pyrtuh was asked by a lady that whether she could give up her Aadhaar number? Realising that there was no OPT OPTION in UID/Aadhaar, MPCA decided to start its OPT OUT campaign by sending letters to UIDAI. Receiving no response, MPCA decided to file two affidavits in the Supreme Court in the ongoing Aadhaar Case.
Presented by Shyam Diwan these affidavits from the people of Meghalaya raised some crucial issues regarding choice and control which underpin Aadhaar Project.
Whatever the decision of the court in Aadhaar case, MPCA’s critique and campaign will have to be considered. So do read MPCA’s affidavits as filed by Rev. Kyrsoibor Pyrtuh and Rev. PBM Basaiwmoit