UID, Surveillance and the New Emergency – Dr. Usha Ramanathan, on #AadharFail

Dr. Usha Ramanathan addressed the hall on “UID, Surveillance and the New Emergency?” The fourth All India Conference of Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) was held in Hyderabad on 24th & 25th June, 2017 (Emergency day) in the background of the recent recommendations of the Law Commission to criminalize lawyer’s strikes or abstention from court work. The right to strike flows from the fundamental right to association and protest. Like most of the oppressed sections in India, the right to protest and collectively bargain is being criminalized and gradually eroded. Draconian legislations such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Sedition, Armed Forces Special Powers Act and various Public Security Acts are being used to suppress the struggling people and dissenting voices. Thousands of such people’s activists, lawyers or Human Right Defenders have been labeled as ‘terrorists’ or ‘anti-Nationals’ and incarcerated under such Acts. The Conference dealt with this aspect of suppression of the people’s right to protest and the use of so-called anti-terror laws in the context of social and political peoples’ movements and the Kashmiri people’s resistance. On the other hand State Surveillance has been steadily increasing. In the name of ‘National security’, the citizen’s right to privacy is being brutally suppressed. The blatant example is the UID (Aadhaar) project ̶ a story of coercion, rampant illegality and outrageous contempt of court orders. The UID project forces the citizen into choicelessness, destroying the idea of consent, while the State assumes power over the body and data of every person, which it then allows corporate interests to use. The Conference also seeks to examine and discuss whether this Surveillance signifies a new Emergency

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