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2.7M people in India’s Assam state may get digital ID after activation of citizenship law

2.7M people in India’s Assam state may get digital ID after activation of citizenship law

The biometric data of 27 lakh (2.7 million) people in the northern Indian state of Assam could be unlocked following the activation of the country’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) 2019, paving the way for them to obtain Aadhaar digital ID cards.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma dropped the hint recently during a press conference, according to Deccan Herald.

The CAA which redefines India’s state mechanism on citizenship matters was activated on March 11, more than four years since it was adopted by parliament. The move has sparked protests in a number of Indian states, with some saying the law is discriminatory and unconstitutional, according to an explainer by Al Jazeera. At least five people are said to have died in the state of Assam as a result of the protests against the implementation of the CAA.

Speaking about the issue, Sarma explained that the possibility of unlocking the biometrics of people collected more than four years ago during a process to update the National Register of Citizens  (NRC), is being discussed with the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and other concerned parties. The issue had previously made it all the way to the High Court of Assam.

Those who had their biometrics blocked faced several challenges including the inability to obtain ration cards to benefit from government social welfare interventions. This situation is now likely to change, said Sarma, with the coming into force of the new law which will grant citizenship to some non-Muslim refugees who came to India before December 31, 2014.

Assam is the only Indian state where the NRC is linked with the CAA.

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