NPR field in Aadhaar form ‘a mistake’
Two different forms for updating of or enrolment for Aadhaar were distributed in Watgunge on Tuesday, one without any field for an NPR (National Population Register) number and another with it.
More than three hours after work had started around noon, a resident of the neighbourhood noticed that in his form a number had been written in the “NPR Receipt/TIN Number” field.
He raised the alarm at the Calcutta Municipal Corporation-run Doctor Zahurul Haque Memorial Health Centre in Kidderpore, where the updating-cum-enrolment work was on.
The Telegraph had erroneously mentioned in the report “Bank staff arrested over NPR”, which appeared on Thursday, that the Aadhaar camp was being held at the Watgunge branch of IndusInd Bank. Police said on Thursday the two IndusInd Bank employees arrested on Wednesday were from the Brabourne Road branch and assigned to run the camp at the health centre.
One of the forms distributed in Watgunge on Tuesday had “Aadhaar Number (UID): In case of update” mentioned in column No. 2 and the other had “NPR receipt/TIN” printed in the same column.
The Bengal government has suspended the NPR exercise, which, along with the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens, forms the new citizenship matrix that has triggered protests across the country.
“I was surprised to see an NPR number assigned in my form. I asked some people what was it and they were equally confused,” said Fakhre Alam, a resident of the area. The number in the “NPR receipt/TIN” field was actually his Aadhaar number.
Within minutes, hundreds of people had gathered at the health centre. Even the lane in front, Nitya Ghosh Street, was teeming with people who were scared and angry thinking that the Aadhaar update was a guise to enlist their names in the NPR.
Another resident called up the local councillor — Left Front’s Belquis Begum (ward 75) — who turned up at the health centre and talked to the two IndusInd Bank employees who were running the camp.
“The two kept saying that it was a mistake but the residents had become very angry by then. Some of them also hit the two men but others shielded them till police arrived,” said Alam.
People were also angry because many of them had gone through the update exercise before the “mistake” was spotted. They were scared that a number might have been written in the “NPR receipt/TIN” field of their forms, too.
“About 35 people had completed updating their details before we noticed the NPR number in the form,” the councillor said.
The arrested employees of IndusInd Bank have been slapped with IPC sections related to provocation with intent of causing riot, disobedience of an order promulgated by a government servant and criminal conspiracy and also under the Information Technology Act.
They have purportedly told the police that they had fewer forms at the camp compared with the turnout and asked an applicant to take a form and get it photocopied.
“The accused are saying someone might have done a mischief and mixed the correct forms with the old ones (which had “NPR receipt/ TIN” printed in column No. 2),” an officer at Watgunge police station said.
“Either, the bank officials, accidentally or deliberately, took with them some old forms or someone did a mischief while getting a form photocopied.”
The duo’s job included distribution of the forms, helping applicants fill them in, scan the forms and hand the hard copies to the applicants. The scanned copies are to be updated on the Aadhaar database.
A CMC official told Metro that the civic body’s responsibility was only to arrange a space to conduct camp in all its 16 boroughs.
“The respective agencies who win the contract to run the camps deal with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The forms reach the agencies directly and are not routed through the CMC,” the official said.
He added: “As a government authority we only provide the space as there is a high demand among people to correct their Aadhaar details”.