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West Bengal: CM Mamata Banerjee announces ‘alternative Aadhaar cards’ for minorities alleging mass deactivation of Aadhaar cards

UIDAI has already clarified the matter and said that no Aadhaar Card has been cancelled in West Bengal

On Monday (19th February), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that the TMC-led state government will start giving “alternate Aadhaar cards” to minorities in their state. It came a day after she alleged that Aadhaar cards of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and minority communities of the state are getting deactivated ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. She further alleged that it is a precursor to implementing the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

For this, she also stated that an Aadhaar Grievances Portal of the West Bengal government would start functioning from Tuesday (20th February).

Addressing a press conference at the secretariat on Monday (19th February), she said, “We will give a separate card to those whose names are being struck off… We will not let any poor person go wrong. We have prepared a portal named ‘Aadhaar Grievance Portal of West Bengal Government’. Those whose Aadhaar card has been deactivated should inform us as soon as possible so that they continue to enjoy their democratic, social, and economic rights.”

Later, she also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the alleged “deactivation” of Aadhaar cards in West Bengal. 

She also stated that Trinamool Congress would send a team to the Election Commission of India (ECI). She said, “I am sending a team to the ECI as they should be made aware of it. This cannot go on just before the elections. CPI(M) and the Congress leaders here support them (read BJP). AITC is a transparent party as we take action as soon as something is reported. We do not even spare our own people.”

A day earlier, on Sunday (18th February), CM Banerjee accused the Modi government of secretly cancelling people’s Aadhasr numbers without any prior imitation. She made the contentious remarks during a public rally in Birbhum district of West Bengal.

She alleged, “Many of you are not aware of this. Stay alert! I have several news stories. They (the Modi government) are cancelling the Aadhasr card of a lot of people. 50 people in Jamlpur in Bardhaman district have had their Aadhsar cards suspended. It is also happening in Birbhum, North 24 Paraganas, South 24 Parganas and even North Bengal.”

She then vowed to transfer funds to beneficiaries by bypassing the Aadhsar card and using other identity cards. “I want to reassure the people of Bengal that no scheme in the State will be linked to your Aadhsar cards,” the West Bengal Chief Minister claimed.

Pertinent to note that UIDAI clarified the matter and dismissed the allegations made by the West Bengal CM. 

The development was confirmed by BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari on Monday (19th February). In a tweet, he shared the screenshot of the ‘feedback’ page of UIDAI and remarked, ” UIDAI has issued clarification that no Aadhaar Card has been cancelled.”

“I urge everyone not to believe any gossip or misinformation. The Chief Minister is unnecessarily trying to create panic. No one should be worried,” he had emphasised.

UIADI pointed out, “Aadhaar, as the most commonly used digital identity, is used to avail of numerous subsidies, benefits and services. In view of the same, for maintaining the accuracy of the Aadhaar database, UIDAI had initiated an exercise for update of documents and Aadhaar information. In the course of activities undertaken to keep the Aadhaar database updated, intimations are issued from time to time to Aadhaar number holders. In this connection, it is clarified that no Aadhaar number has been cancelled.” 

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