Dr. Mukul Sangma, Chief Minister, Meghalaya, made a strong pitch for not making Aadhar mandatory for people in Meghalaya and the North-East in general. He stated that he has not yet applied to get his Aadhar number since the same concerns come into the picture. According to Dr. Sangma, every democracy should give importance to the basic right to privacy since the absence of the same may dilute the democratic ideal. Dr. Sangma stated that he has already held discussions on the matter with the Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal and both have jointly written to the Indian Government in this regard.
Mukul Sangma confirmed that both Chief Ministers shared the same viewpoint since the situation in the North-East was vastly different in comparison to both states. The concerns of the people in Meghalaya and Assam pertain to the problems arising from influx of people and illegal immigration. Both the Chief Ministers have previously written to the Government to not make Aadhar compulsory for their states.
The enrolment procedure in Meghalaya has been bumpy with opposition from the local people, churches and also the Khasi Students’ Union among others. They have cited reasons like the total infringement of privacy and also voting rights in case of non-natives. A total of 286 people have already submitted their letters as part of a campaign that goes against Aadhar enrolment to the Meghalaya People Committee. They have also requested the Authority to delete their UID numbers from the central database.
Dr. Sangma stated that students from Meghalaya who were pursuing higher studies in other states may face some obstacles and hence the Government would not obstruct their Aadhar enrolment procedures. The Central Government should take into consideration the unique concerns and complicate challenges faced by the North-East according to Dr. Sangma. He also urged all the North-Eastern states to come together for highlighting this issue. Dr. Sangma has also directed local authorities to provide a report on a village where people have already stopped sending their wards to school after the institution pressurized them to provide Aadhar numbers.
CM Sangma also rued the complete lack of coordination and synergy amongst various Union Government authorities which has led to multiple and confusing directives being given to people on the matter. He further added that the National Register of Citizens was still not there in the country and hence segregating genuine citizens from other groups was proving to be an issue in the entire North-East.