Residents of slums near Gurgaon’s Ghasola village, most of whom hail from villages in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh and work in the informal sector, were left shaken Friday morning, when police personnel turned up at their doorsteps around 7 am, demanding photo ID proofs.
While police termed this a “routine security measure” in anticipation of Republic Day and said it is carried out every year, residents raised apprehensions against the backdrop of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).
A slum resident, who hails from West Bengal and runs a kirana shop in the area, said he was considering returning to his native village for a while. “I have my Aadhaar card and voter ID as proof, but the address on both is of my village in West Bengal,” said the resident, who did not wish to be identified. “At least back home, I have a support system in case someone tries to harass me or my family.”
A 43-year-old woman, who also hails from West Bengal and works as a domestic help in a gated condominium, said: “Security is fine, but why are ID proofs of people living in other villages and houses not required? Why only our community? I work in a condominium and have to submit my identity proof to get a society gate pass. Why should we have to keep proving our identity at every turn?”
Another domestic help added, “It’s not like we can just pick up our things and return to our village. We are poor people with families to support.”
Gurgaon Police insisted these fears are unfounded, and ID proof checks have nothing to do with CAA or NRC.
“This is a routine exercise before Republic Day; it happens every year and there is nothing specific or special about it. We are already in close proximity to Delhi, and this is done every year,” said Chander Mohan, DCP (East).
“We are not asking for Aadhaar cards specifically, just for identity proof, to ensure there is no unknown element or threat element here. We have been doing this for two-three days and will continue until Republic Day. So far, we have not found anybody who could not produce documentation,” he said.
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