At least 127 residents of Hyderabad have been served notices by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), asking them to prove their citizenship. At least three of them are Muslim.
In a press statement released on Twitter on Tuesday, the UIDAI said that these notices were sent out after their regional office in Hyderabad received reports that these 127 people had obtained Aadhaar under “false pretences.”
“It may be noted that the RO Hyderabad received reports from the state police that 127 people have obtained Aadhaar on false pretences as in their preliminary enquiry they were found illegal immigrants who were not qualified to obtain an Aadhaar number,” the UIDAI said.
Those who have been served notices have been asked to appear before the UIDAI deputy director in Hyderabad for a personal hearing on February 20.
This comes even as protest continue across the country against the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act that offers citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have sought refuge in India. The contentious law conspicuously leaves out Muslims.
Scroll.in accessed a notice sent to Talab Katta resident Mohd Sattar Khan that clearly states that he needs to prove his citizenship and he needs to bring documents to support it. The notice has been signed by UIDAI deputy director Amita Bindroo.
Muzafarullah Khan Shafaat, a lawyer representing Khan told Scroll.in, “So with what authority is UIDAI asking people to prove their citizenship? As per the Aadhaar rules, if UIDAI finds that someone has fraudulently acquired Aadhar, they are supposed to deactivate the number and ask for proof of original documents, not for proof of citizenship.”
The UIDAI claimed in their statement that media reports about this were not presented in the correct perspective. “UIDAI clarifies that these reports are not presented in correct perspective and Aadhaar has got nothing to do with the citizenship issue as such.”
While the notice clearly mentions those sent notices need to bring documents to “prove all your claims of citizenship”, the UIDAI claimed that the notices were sent for “them to appear in person and to substantiate their claims for getting an Aadhaar number”.
The UIDAI further clarified, “These notices have nothing to do with citizenship and cancellation of Aadhaar number is in no way related to the nationality of any resident.”
The New Indian Express quoted MP from Hyderabad and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi as saying, “Section 9 of Aadhaar Act says that it isn’t proof of citizenship. On what legal authority, does UIDAI, UIDAI Hyderabad have to demand proof of citizenship? The notices don’t even mention the grounds on which they were issued. This is illegal and unacceptable.”