Pointing to his own case, civil rights activist and senior professor Anand Teltumbde, who is facing imminent arrest under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), said that concentration of power in the state through Aadhaar could lead to “all theoretical rights enshrined in the Constitution being reduced to a joke”.
Teltumbde, who was speaking at the launch of the book ‘Dissent on Aadhaar’ edited by economist Reetika Khera, on Saturday said that the danger of a surveillance state that could be created through Aadhaar is compounded when it is a state that is “amoral and so rogue that it creates something out of nothing”.
He said, “There is nothing in the Elgaar Parishad but they created it for political purpose. I initially took it as a joke when the police took my name (in that context).”
Teltumbde is facing arrest after the Supreme Court this week refused to quash the FIR filed against him by the police over allegations of inciting violence at Koregaon Bhima.
“Ordinary police can slap a draconian law such as UAPA on you, you are defenceless, and you could be incarcerated for four to five years just like that. In such a situation that they are bringing Aadhaar, databases are being collated by the state and all those theoretical rights enshrined in the Constitution can be reduced to a joke,” he said.
“Edward Snowden, a CIA official-turned-whistleblower, said how this project (Aadhaar) will end all civil rights of people. Whether they do it or not, the very thought that they can use surveillance itself creates a lot of psychological pressure and inhibitions and curbs your freedom of expression, which is considered to be a fundamental right in the Constitution.” He said there are a “lot of implications even when people are digitally literate”, but still “there are problems with this kind of data”.