Aadhaar notice to Hyderabad Muslims sparks NRC fears

Mohd Sattar Khan, the recipient of the notice from Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) directing him to prove his Indian citizenship, is living in fear. He is unwilling to talk, but after much prodding, he agrees to speak for a couple of minutes.

“I do whatever work I get. I drive an auto, and now I do videography,” he says with trembling voice. He confirms that his father worked in Hyderabad Allwyn Limited, once a public sector company. He is encouraged to speak by Muzaffar Ullah Khan, a lawyer who is providing him legal aid, but words fail the recipient of the notice. Two others, one also from Talabkatta, and another from Santosh Nagar, who have received similar notices are afraid to speak. They refuse to reveal their names.

And while UIDAI reacted to media reports and stated that 127 persons ‘fraudulently’ obtained Aadhaar cards in a response to a query from The Hindu, R S Gopalan, Deputy Director General, UIDAI in an email stated that the authorities were unable to send 52 notices to individuals as the addresses of recipients could not be found.

The UIDAI’s notice, directing Mr Khan to prove citizenship, has given rise to widespread concerns within the Muslims community. Some opine that the UIDAI’s notice bears striking similarity to a National Register of Citizen-like exercise.

“For a long time, I have been gathering documents of my father who died last year. These include property documents, government employment documents and other related paperwork. I thought these could come handy for me and my siblings and their children if NRC happens in Hyderabad. But UIDAI asking that man to prove citizenship has rattled me. There is so much confusion now,” says Saleem Ahmed (name changed), a businessman and resident of Jubilee Hills.

Hours after Mr Khan’s case was reported, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi waded into the controversy and claimed that UIDAI did not adhere to due procedure and abused its powers. He sought to know which police officer provided UIDAI the names of 127 persons and on what grounds.

“Request @UIDAI & @TelanganaPolice to tell us how many of those 127 listed people are Muslim & Dalit @TelanganaPolice please stop asking for Aadhaar during your “search & cordon” operations. You’re not legally permitted to do so,” he tweeted.

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