LALIT again calls for the extension of the ID Card deadline, as there is still no judgment in the two cases brought by Proving Jugnauth and Dr. Madewoo before the Supreme Court. Equally pertinent, the third case, with Rama Valayden as barrister, and which was lodged in the Supreme Court in December, 2013 has been systematically postponed and postponed, again and again.
Given that the first extension of the deadline was precisely because the Constitutional cases were not yet over, it is obvious that the Prime Minister should act so as to extend the deadline. But what is he doing? He is, so far, just leaving the deadline in place, pretending there is no problem.
The DPP has meanwhile, with implacable rationality, stated in writing that he does not intend to prosecute until “final judgment”. As we can assume that all three cases will end up before the Privy Council on appeal, that is a long way away.
So, there will clearly be no arrests, prosecutions, trials, fines and locking-people-up for being on the go-slow for a very long time to come.
However, the threat of constant intimidation and harassment by not just officers of the State, which is bad enough, but even by private enterprises like Banks is very real. We have even seen the bizarre spectacle of Mr. Rao Rama, nothing more than a contract worker, standing up in Court representing the State, announcing what only Minister Anil Baichoo should be announcing, i.e. that pensioners will need to use the new card on public transport.
And, the Government, although not extending the deadline, has finally, through Mr. Rao Rama once again, informed the public that after the closing of his private sector workshops, the State will continue to convert and issue cards, and FOUR government centres, after 30 September deadline. These “Registration and Issue Centres” will be run by Government. Mr. Rao Rama will take up some other contract, selling some other product, but the State will continue to issue ID Cards.
What is LALIT’s “mo-dord” on the go-slow in this difficult situation?
Firstly, we are calling on people who can do so to maintain the go-slow as long as possible. Clearly each individual is in a different position. Some are not yet 18. Some have lost their cards. Some don’t have passports to use instead of an existing ID card, when it is lost. Some people find it much more difficult than others to reply to domineering and intimidating Bank Clerks and Social Security Officers while standing at the head of a queue in front of lots of other people. And, of course, everyone whose has a powerful family member, who has submitted already to the humiliation of being finger-printed, suffers a fair amount of harassment in the home, as well.
So we maintain the call for a go-slow until the last moment.
After the deadline, it is no longer a go-slow.
We call on individuals who have the courage to maintain the action, which will now become passive resistance to a law, like the Gandhi campaigns against ID cards in South Africa. And remember that there are obviously still the FOUR centre run by government that will remain open after the 30 September deadline. Clearly the Government cannot refuse to give people an ID Card when the law makes it compulsory to have one. Remember that the DPP does not intend to prosecute until the final judgment in the Supreme Court cases, of which there are THREE. Also remember, that you will have to prepare for a fair amount of harassment.
So, should there be individuals who feel growing anxiety in the face of the State’s campaign on intimidation, we suggest that they should inform the State that it is only under duress that they are taking out their new cards. You have been wonderful in participating in such a well-supported go-slow. Remember some 100,000 people delayed taking out their cards. That’s as much as 10%!
Contact LALIT in person at GRNW, by telephone on 208 5551 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on the form of an “under duress” letter. The struggle does not stop here, for you, though. Remember that Mohandas Gandhi, later Mahatma, when in South Africa ran a campaign 100 years ago against finger-printing on ID Cards, and Nelson Mandela ran a campaign against the ID Cards (Pass Law cards) 50 years ago, after they had already been introduced. In India today, after 600 million biometric cards have been issued, the State is not legally permitted to use the cards as a pretext not to give someone a service to which he or she is entitled. In the UK, after their introduction, Cameron destroyed the biometric cards as fulfillment of a promise to destroy them within 100 days of coming to power. In the USA, the George Bush smart cards have been withdrawn as State after State rejected them. The people in Australia forced the government there, too, to withdraw the cards. So, lalit continue ...