Through ‘Speak For Me’, over 3000 people have sent emails urging their MPs not to make Aadhaar-linking mandatory.

Worried about mandatory Aadhaar On this website ask your MP to fight for youImage for representation/PTI
news Aadhaar Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 16:41

Have you been flooded with calls and text messages prompting you to link your Aadhar to your accounts?  

This relentless push towards linking Aadhaar is happening even as the Supreme Court is yet to rule on whether it should be made mandatory to avail services.

The arguments against Aadhaar are based on the grounds of violation of privacy, possible surveillance, and exclusion of people from schemes and services they are eligible for simply because they do not have an Aadhaar card.

But now, you can write to the service providers, banks and even the Members of Parliament from your particular constituencies voicing your concerns over the matter, thanks to a team of 90 volunteers.

‘Speak For Me’, a website which went live at 3pm on Wednesday, allows you to email service providers and MPs along with a template message, demanding that linking of Aadhar not be made mandatory

At the head of this campaign are the people who had earlier pushed for net neutrality. One of them, Bengaluru-based Kiran Jonnalagadda, is the co-founder of Internet Freedom Foundation.

“The Parliament’s winter session begins tomorrow (Friday). We are hoping that if enough people write to their MPs by then, it should compel the latter to take up the issue in the Parliament,” Kiran explains.

He asserts that the government needs to know that common people are being “harassed” on a day-to-day basis by mobile operators, banks and so on even as the arguments about its necessity are still going on in the Supreme Court.

Indeed, within three hours of the website going up, over 1,000 emails were sent from the website. Of these, over 700 were sent to MPs. A Twitter handle called @bulletinbabu has been tweeting updates on the email counts which is steadily rising.

At the time of writing, 3,000 emails had been sent from the site to MPs, and over 400 to banks mobile service providers.

https://twitter.com/bulletinbabu/status/941223741555650560

“We are essentially trying to get the MPs to bring up the matter under Rule 193 of the Parliamentary procedures,” Kiran says. Under Rule 193 (Short Duration Discussion), an MP can “raise a discussion on a matter of urgent public importance”.

Nikhil Pahwa, the founder of Medianama, is also one of the names associated with the Speak For Me campaign. Speaking to Business Standard, Nikhil argued that Aadhaar would be equivalent to a “kill switch” if all services were linked to it. “You can be disconnected by the government for no reason,” he said, adding concerns about surveillance as well.  

There have been several reports which have brought to light how people without Aadhaar accounts are deprived of important services.

Recently, the plight of Sajida, an elderly woman and leprosy patient in Bengaluru was brought to light by The New Indian Express.

Having lost her eyesight as well as hands to the disease, Sajida did not have the biometrics necessary for having an Aadhaar account. In light of the same, she ran the threat of her pension being discontinued. But after the media picked up the story, Sajida’s pension was restored.

There have also been several stories in the past with people in other parts of India being unable to access the PDS system because they did not have an Aadhaar card.

In light of the above cases, it is not surprising to see a number of people opposing the government’s push for Aadhaar and linking important services like mobile connections and bank accounts to them.

Many people have backed the Speak For Me campaign on social media as well. Check out a few reactions here:

If you want to email your service providers or MP, go to www.speakforme.in/mp.

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