India’s Biometric #Aadhaar ID Is Cause of a Human Rights Crises: I talk to @letra_escarlata for

Image result for aadhaar worst human rights crisesThe government of India has launched a massive biometric ID project, that entails assigning a 12 digit number to each person, and linking it to the person’s biometrics — and everything the person owns and does. In the face of widespread thefts and human and civil rights abuses due to Aadhaar, there are immense fears and public resistance. This is why the silence of the global media is unconscionable!  I am very grateful to Teresa Domínguez  for this interview below and for giving a voice in the global arena to the Indian citizens resistance to Aadhaar.


Below is the English version of my interview to Teresa Domínguez about the Aadhaar for the journal   

The interview is published in Spanish and can be read on this link:


El sistema biométrico Aadhaar o la vulneración de derechos humanos de un país. Entrevista a Rita Banerji, escritora y directora de 50 Million Missing

by Teresa Domínguez (@letra_escarlata)

In the first chapter of this series we saw  the systematic genocide of girls and women in India:  sec 68 million ú n the latest data . Last week we wrote about an issue that is currently being debated in our country (Spain), rent a womb, with a first-hand look  at this violation of human and reproductive rights of Indian women. Today we continue the series dealing with an issue that violates the most basic civil and human rights of Indian citizens and especially an important part of the population, women.

Rita Banerji, Feminist and author of the book “Sex and Power”.

The 12-digit biometric ID called Aadhaar in India is echoing as one of the greatest rights violations that is causing an unprecedented human rights crisis in India, with the consequential increase in social resistance.

The Aadhaar system is a massive, centralized database with 360 ° surveillance capability. It is not just an identification number assigned to a person, but a system that decides whether or not you exist through a fingerprint and a number. In addition, the system requires  you to “authenticate” in all banking activities, pension, food ration, medical treatment, etc … which means placing your finger on a machine that indicates whether you exist or not. “And it does not matter if your neighbors and family testify that you are who you say you are, if the machine does not recognize you, you do not exist.”

The government first of all obliged all citizens of India to register in the biometric system called #Aadhaar and link their personal data and bank details, phones, etc … with the threat of cutting off their telephone, pension, rationing or freezing your pensions. Now, as a result of failed authentication, many people are declared dead or nonexistent or are being supplanted. Despite many violation of rights based on Aadhaar , including death by starvation or robbery, the government has now enacted a law that prevents citizens from filing a police or judicial complaint. The Aadhaar system is a massive attack on civil and human rights in India. An  Orwellian system , totalitarian, according to the writer. The main victims and victims of the system are the poor, the elderly, the illiterate, the sick, the disabled and women. How that happens you can you read  in this link . Rita Banerji tells us there are many cases of attacks against the most elementary rights of people. Aadhaar has redefined the Hindu concept of crime. If a company has the number and biometric data of a person and opens a bank account, without consent and withdraws funds, the government does not consider it fraud or theft.

Citizens suffering from leprosy, who lack the fingers of their hands.

Approximately 50% of Indians: that is half a billion citizens, are illiterate.The ‘Virtual ID’ campaign of UIDAI explains that multiple virtual IDs can be generated from their website so that persons do not have to share the 12 digits of the biometric identification. However only 26% of Indians use the internet. And only 3% of women have enough computer literacy to effectively use email and other online applications. This actually allows criminals to use this service creating false identities. In fact the UIDAI discovered that some of its own workers were falsifying and stealing data. A Tribune newspaper journalist showed that for only $ 7.00 you can buy any of Aadhaar and all the details. A theft to vulnerable people and an attack on the most basic human rights of people.


To learn more about this topic, we spoke with the feminist writer  Rita Banerji

What is the Aadhaar?

The answer is: nobody knows what Aadhaar is. It is assumed to be a 12-digit national identification number linked to a digital database with all the information and activities of a person and biometric data and which the government now says everyone should have. But the worst is that the government is forcing people, under threat of freezing their bank savings, blocking their phone or ration card, to force them to link their Aadhaar to everything that concerns them: bank account, phone, property, medical history, voter identification, car insurance, driving license, school, pension, rationing, death and birth certificate, everything! But Aadhaar is not proof of citizenship, since foreigners who live here for 182 days can also have it. Even the ISIS terrorists in India have it.

Aadhaar is not a government document, since the government contracted data collection to a private company called UIDAI, and a businessman named Nandan Nilekani, who then subcontracted it to many other private companies, including foreign companies. Now, through RTI (Right To Information) requests and court documents we see that contracts were awarded to US companies that are managed by former FBI and CIA agents who are also consultants to US intelligence.

Shyam Divan, the lawyer representing the petitions of numerous citizens who have seen their rights violated, before the Supreme Court Hearing of India along with other lawyers of the case,  said last month before the Court that a US military contractor had developed the technology and owned the CIDR source code, and at any time could keep it, so it would cause an economic and social collapse in India and literally subject this country to digital slavery by the US and its big corporations like Bill Gates, Microsoft, etc … that are very interested in this issue and have been promoting it for India despite the widespread human rights abuses as we have seen, including deaths from starvation, something that has not been seen since the freedom of British colonialism was reached.

Is Aadhaar verified by any official body?

The Aadhaar is not verified by any official body and has no official digital signature. It is not proof of address, nor of birth. What is now clear – with documented evidence – is that Aadhaar is almost like a coup secretly hatched by the Indian government against its own citizens, since 2009, together with foreign agencies, including foreign intelligence, large corporations and agencies such as the IMF and the World Bank. The main media have been silent and are part of a conspiracy, as it is owned and controlled by large corporations with vested interests. Mukesh Ambani, one of the richest Indians, also mentioned by Forbes as one of the 10 richest men in the world, laughed and said once that “the data is the new oil”.So Aadhaar is simply a 12-digit biometric digital tag that can be used to track every movement of citizens and cause “digital death” or “social death” with its deactivation by the government and its private allies.

When did it start to be implemented and are there other precedents?

It began to be implemented in 2009-10. In the first place, they said that it would be voluntary to benefit poor people, so that they had easy access to subsidized food (rationing) and pensions and that could be complemented by other means of identification. But there started to be cases in which the rights of many poor people who lacked Aadhaar were denied. The Supreme Court ruled and said it could not be mandatory identification. But then in 2014, the government of India changed, the right wing party entered to govern, and they ignored the Supreme Court ruling approving of he Aadhaar Act that would make it mandatory. Now Indonesia, which is governed by a dictatorship, with a flagrant violation of human rights, wants to replicate the Aadhaar. Yes, India is like an experiment conducted on 1/5 of the world’s human population.

Who is to behind to s of this system?

Western governments, especially the United States, the United Kingdom and large corporations, the IMF and the World Bank are the ones that seem to be behind this impulse.Of course, with the support of the corrupt leaders of the Third World who surely, with some personal benefit, sell our freedom and democracy. I think it connects with the Bretton Woods conference after the Second World War, when the United States and the United Kingdom met and planned a new way to continue the colonization of the third world through economic slavery, for which they created the IMF and the World Bank.

Who are the victims of this system? In what way does it affect women in particular?

The worst victims of the system so far are the poor, the elderly, the illiterate, the sick, the disabled and women. Infant Girls and a woman with cancer have died without being treated in hospitals, women are denied abortions, sick women stopped receiving their treatments for AIDS, losing even anonymity with what comes with stigma. Child marriages, falsified biometric data. Girls raped, forced to get married changing their personal information. The case of widows is terrifying. Women who are left without a pension or their food ration, dying of hunger. Desperate mothers because they can not feed their children. Many poor, widowed women have died of starvation by being denied ration and pension.  An 11-year-old girl  died of starvation for not having Aadhaar .Elderly people who are without their pensions.  The mother of two disabled children in Bengal who were denied her disability pension because her children did not have their corresponding Aadhaar. In fact,  more than 53,000 disabled and widowed people have been denied a pension for lack of identification since October 2016. Domestic workers robbed and deceived. All these cases and others can be read  in this documented linkof the non-profit organization: 50 Million Missing .

Are the Western media reporting on this situation?

There is very little coverage in the Western media about this abuse of the fundamental rights of the Indian citizens that is creating a great crisis in the country. Interestingly, it seems that this silence is due to a conspiracy between these same media and capitalist corporations in order to give a false image and publicity of the Aadhaar program.

What is the Government’s position in the face of this injustice?

Most worrisome, is that the Government remains unperturbed by the news of people who are denied their basic rights. Human beings who are literally dying of hunger. Instead, the government denies it and treats the victims of liars and thieves.

Thomas Friedman lied  about the Aadhaar biometric system in India  in the NYTimes. These complaints can be followed up on the networks:

#AadhaarScam  #AadhaarFemicide  #AadhaarWarOnWomen  #DestroyTheAadhaar #AadhaarLies


A final reflection of Rita Banerji 

Fingerprint forgery

Our fingerprint is now our identity, label and password for everything! This is one of the most important reasons why Aadhaar must be destroyed. In addition, the government has forced people to give fingerprints to all agencies: bank, telephone company, etc … It is a deliberate endangerment of the identity of people and of their property and savings! Of course, it is not surprising how much thefts have increased. The worst part is that we can change the identification and password for other systems, but the stolen fingerprints can never be changed. Many of us who argue against the Aadhaar, are very clear that it should be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and that the database, including biometric data, should be destroyed as the United Kingdom did. It is not even an ethical option since only people with knowledge are the ones who can benefit from an “opt out” option. When a system such as Aadhaar involves such widespread abuses of identity theft and personal rights, allowing it as an option means that those who are poor and illiterate will not be able to benefit and will not know how to use this option, much less know when their rights are abused. If there are voices of citizens with education in the cities that advocate this “option” system, they do so, so as to not contradict the Government and be considered anti-government. But it is selfish because they do not think about those who are already dying in rural areas of India, or are not educated or literate to understand the system, and those who will die if we allow this monstrous system to continue.

“Investigators and journalists who have identified gaps in this massive national identity project in India have reported that they have been harassed and subjected to surveillance by government agencies because of their work.” Via  Reuters

Rita Banerji : Another concern of the use of Aadhaar is it may be used to manipulate and falsify the situation of female genocide in India. The current estimates are 68 million missing women in India, a figure that “The Hindu” reported in 2014 which was deduced using the method of Amartya Sen. The next census will not be until 2021. The figure of 63 million is reported by the present  Government and based on “financial data”. We do not know what that is. The censuses in India are carried out every 10 years, with a door-to-door count. We are very concerned that, with Aadhaar, the government now affirms that we do not need door-to-door scrutiny when everything is digitized. We know that Aadhaar’s digital data is leaked, stolen, manipulated and corrupted and can not be trusted. That is why we fear that the government will digitally manipulate the sex ratio to show it as normalized. Currently the physical data gathered in registers by thousands of census officials in hand written registers are not possible to manipulate like a central digital database would be.

Next week “Sex and power”. To be continue…

Other chapters of the series:

Violence against women in India, 68 million women and girls “disappeared”. Interview with Rita Banerji, writer and founder of 50MillionMissing.

Bells for rent, the new social demand. Interview with Rita Banerji, writer, feminist activist and founder of 50 Million Missing


Why Amy Chua is India’s Iconic Parent

That photo is probably the Indian (or Asian) concept of parenting! And it  is time for us to majorly rethink it!!

In less than a year, there is yet another diplomatic battle brewing between India and Norway on yet another child abuse case.  What India calls “culture appropriate” parenting, is regarded as abuse and violation of a child’s human rights in Norway and in most other western countries.

In the last case, Norway submitted to the bullying by the Indian government, egged on by the Indian public, and allowed the children back to India.  This time they are not taking any chances. The two parents in question have been jailed in Norway!  Norway didn’t quite like the burn marks on the 7-year-old boy’s legs, and probably didn’t buy the parents explanations that he had bumped his legs against a cooking stove.  They also didn’t like their threatening to do other things like burn his tongue and send him back alone to India. The family of the jailed couple thinks otherwise.  They say, “How can the court pronounce its judgment based on the complaint of a seven-year-old boy without even taking into account our arguments based on Indian culture and values?”

They are not alone. It is how India views parenting.  A child is the property of a parent.  Is it for anyone to say, what a person is to do with their property? 


You can beat, burn, sell, destroy your property – and I’m talking about children here, (more…)

How My Dog Obsessed Family Got A Cat

Kitty at one month. © Rita Banerji

The rule is, you are either a dog family or a cat family. We are a dog family.  When I was growing up, there never was a time when there wasn’t at least one dog in our family.  And we had all other kinds of pets too: rabbits, fish, birds that fell out of their nests and their mamas wouldn’t have them back, and also a deer.  But we never had a cat — until recently!!!

When Kitty (seen in the picture here) landed on our doorstep she was probably about 3-4 weeks old. No bigger than a scraggly little squirrel. She went from floor to floor crying at the door of every apartment in our building, rolling pitifully on the feet of people she encountered. Some quickly shut their doors, while others offered helpful suggestions on what was to be done with her. She was obviously part of some feral cat’s litter, and while there are many feral cats that loiter around our complex and are shooed away if they enter the building, this one was a kitten and refused to go away. Someone suggested, that the cleaning man could “get rid” of her if we paid him a small amount – sort of a ‘Terminator’ plan. Someone else said, “Put her in a plastic bag, tie the mouth and go dump it in a far away public park, so she won’t come back.” I listened to these suggestions with distress. (more…)

Was India Born Just To Give The World Yoga?

In a recent newspaper interview with renowned Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman, about the restitution of Nalanda, the 5th century Buddhist University in India, the journalist comments:  “But Buddhism has practically vanished from India and emerging India may have little interest in the values you talk about.”

Thurman responds to that with:

[So] What is emerging India going to contribute to the world?  Just compete with China to make more cheap goods and take away more jobs from industrialized and unionized countries, and pollute themselves?

He had my attention there for a split second.  And then he spoilt it.  He responded in a way, that I’ve heard so many westerners respond to India, sort of in a patronizing way.  The way you talk to rowdy children, when you want to encourage them to stop doing what they are doing, and do the right thing.  (more…)

How Do We Fix The Hole in India’s Soul?

  For sometime now, as I work with my campaign The 50 Million Missing, to bring attention to India’s ongoing femicide, I’ve been wondering about this big HOLE in India’s SOUL.

Shame is always an indication of a human conscience that’s alive and working.  It is the most critical component of human decency.

But I can’t think of a single instance when the people of this great, big nation, have ever felt any kind of a deep remorse, regret, or shame, about any of the horrible human rights violations that happen here.  Not the massacre of Sikhs in Delhi after Indira Gandhi’s assassination; not the systematic annihilation of girls and women in the millions; not the disgraceful feudal economy that powers India’s dream of global Super-powerdom; and not the targeted massacre of hundreds of Muslims in Gujrat facilitated by the state government and Chief Minister Modi.    During that ghastly week in 2002 that Gujrat went into a state of anarchy – telephone directories were used to locate Muslim homes and businesses, to burn, loot, rape and kill.  No one was ever brought to task in the court of law.

Yet, most Indians think that Modi is a good guy because he brought economic prosperity to Gujrat.  This includes a large section of Indian society – the illiterate, the literate, the professionals, and even the intellectuals, like best-selling Indian author Chetan Bhagat, who in his article yesterday  “The Good and Bad of Gujarat”  says: (more…)

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