Congress on Monday launched a stinging attack against the Centre’s Narendra Modi government after one of its agencies, UADAI, filed an FIR against The Tribune newspaper and its reporter for filing a report on Aadhaar data being up for sale.
Speaking to reporters in Delhi, the party spokesperson, Manish Tewari said, “If this is not fascism, if this not trying to muzzle dissent, if this is not gross abuse of state authority, then I’m afraid, we possibly don’t have a definition for it.”
Tewari said that the time had come for ‘all progressive, right thinking and patriotic forces’ to stand united against what he termed were ‘systematic repression, which had been unleashed on democratic dissent’ by the Narendra Modi government.
He added, “We would like to ask the people of India. In the next 12 to 18 months, people of India will get a chance to once decide the kind of government they would want post 2019. And they must seriously introspect, they must seriously reflect.
“They should make a choice. Do they want a government, which believes in the enlightened idea of India or do they want a country, which is majoritarian, theocratic, where the government is prepared to bite off your tongue the moment you utter a word. The time has come to make this fundamental choice.”
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Sunday had filed an FIR against The Tribune newspaper and its reporter Rachna Khaira for reporting that Aadhaar numbers were up for sale for few hundred rupees.
The report, which was based on an offer from an anonymous sellers over WhatsApp who reported promised to provide access to Aadhaar numbers for a fee. The FIR had also named Anil Kumar, Sunil Kumar and Raj, all of whom were mentioned in The Tribune report as people Khaira contacted in the course of her reporting.
The UIDAI had denied breach or leak of Aadhaar data following the Tribune report’s claim that it had bought unrestricted access to the details of over one billion Aadhaar numbers — for just Rs 500. In a series of tweets, the authorities said that it had given search facility for the purpose of grievance redressal to designated personnel and state government officials to help residents only by entering their 12-digit Aadhaar numbers.