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Brief Summary of LALIT Actions against Compulsory Biometric ID Card System

20.08.2015

Here is a rough list of some 36 actions that LALIT believes contributed to the destruction as from Monday of the Central Data-base of biometric data. Some were by LALIT alone, and many were together with staunch allies in the union movement and amongst associations. 

1. An initial Petition signed by 18 prominent organizations: Circulated by the ad-hoc common front called Kolektif kont Kart Biometrik Obligatwar, set up jointly by LALIT and the Confederation Travailleurs Secteur Prive. Submitted to Acting PM Hon R. Beebeejaun. 28 Sept, 2013. Following this, M. Rao Rama, the Project Co-ordinator in the PMO attacked LALIT member Alain Ah-Vee. Organizations in the Collective are: CTSP, CITU, Centre Goomany, LPT, FTU, ACIM, MLF, Playgroup, Labaz Intersindikal, JUSTICE, Ass. Travailleurs Sociaux, Abaim, Regrupman Travayer Sosyal, University of Mauritius Students union, Albatross Senior Citizens, Nursing Association, First Aiders.

 2. LALIT calls for a GO SLOW. On 24 December, 2013, LALIT announced that it was calling for a “go-slow” from the public, which was widely followed.

 3. A new petition submitted signed by 23 organizations: Submitted to the Prime Minister on 17 April, 2014, together with a joint appeal to join the “GO SLOW”.

 4. LALIT contacted Village Council Presidents and Committee members in over a 100 villages.  This decentralized action lasted over 2-3 months, and involved personal visits, and the distribution of an open letter to each Councillor, in two versions, English and Kreol. Dec-2013 to Feb 2014.

 5. Poster Campaign: Posters were pasted up all over Mauritius, reading “Bizin Refiz donn Guvernman Lanprint.”.

 6. LALIT leaflets distributed against biometric ID Card system: 25 Sept 2013, under the heading, “Kifer LALIT dir Non a Nuvo Kart ID Biometrik?”

 7. Magazine, REVI LALIT Special Issue No. 112 was against the compulsory biometric ID Card system (plus articles in other magazine numbers, including 111, 113, 114, 115, 117, 118, 119).

 8. At a key moment, aiming to unify those who were on the go-slow with others who had had to take out ID Cards, LALIT called for the destruction of the centralized data-base.

 9. LALIT served a citizens “Notice” on all staff at MNIC offices: This decentralized action, warned staff not to act illegally and against the Constitution by putting pressure on members of the public to give biometric data for storage. From 30 March 2014.

 10. LALIT held a “Teach in” on the ID Card system, 1 Dec, 2013.

 11. The Collective LALIT and CTSP held a Workshop at the CTSP offices in Rose-Hill.

 12. A LALIT speaker a debate organized by Foi et Vie, at the ICJM, 9 Nov 2013 challenged and won against M Rao Rama.

 13. Passive Resistance action at the Registrar General’s Building by which dozens of people queued up to take out ID Cards, but refused biometric data, and submitted a letter (enclosed for Data Commissioner’s perusal) 23 July 2014.

 14. LALIT supplied letters for individuals who wanted to join this passive resistance.

 15 Common Declaration against Compulsory Biometric ID Cards, signed by 25 Personalities, including two former Presidents of the Republic, two former Justice Ministers, and individuals at the top of all sectors of society. Organized by LALIT Feb 2014.

 16. Four Press Conferences of organizations against the biometric ID Cards, 6 Sept 2013, and 16 Apr, 2014, 11 Jul, 2014 (at GTU), and LALIT had already held the first one on 23 July, 2012.

 17. Protest Actions outside Factories and Universities, etc. Another decentralized series of actions. Distribution of leaflets re dangers of biometric information being taken by force and stored, just before the MNIC officers were due to go on to the sites to take fingerprints, etc. E.g. Princess Tuna, Thon de Mascareignes, UBS garage, CNT garages, University of Mauritius. Oct, 2013.

 18 Research by LALIT on the financial ramifications behind the project, published by LALIT; what happened, in fact to the Rs 1.5 billion deal, masked by the fig-leaf of Government-to-Government contract with Government of Singapore, and how the money ended up in pro-Labour Party firms including BAI.

 19. Le Mauricien Forum article, “Save us From our Protectors” 21 October 2013.

 20  Key Radio Programs on Top FM and Radio Plus, by Lindsey Collen that set the ball rolling against the biometric ID cards.

 21. LALIT aimed to get the two main Opposition Parties at the time, MSM and MMM, to change their positions. In fact, both did. For example, LALIT delegated a member to telephone Paul Berenger as Opposition Leader to propose Parliamentary Questions.

 22. LALIT wrote the DPP an open letter, calling for him to say whether he would prosecute those who did not give biometric data. He replied on 27 June, 2014, saying “It is a fact that until there is a final pronouncement of the constitutionality of the relevant provisions of the Act, it would be unlikely for me as DPP to exercise my powers under Section 72 of the Constitution to initiate criminal proceedings against those persons who have failed without reasonable excuse to apply for the new Identity card ...” This public stand opened up democratic space for the go-slow to continue apace.

 23. LALIT member Lindsey Collen’s Youtube Clip, created by Rada Kistnasamy and Emilie Wiehe against ID Card had a record number of visits: Over 18,000. Posted 28 Sept, 2013. This provoked a fine debate.

 24. LALIT’s Electoral Program had a chapter on the ID Card Sept, 2014.

 25. LALIT dedicated two of its electoral programs on MBC TV and Radio to the ID Card. LALIT member Shabeela Kalla spoke.

 26. LALIT YouTube by Shabeela Kalla on the ID Card, 30 Sept 2014. 1,000 viewers.

 27. LALIT exposed contradictions in the Labour Government: Published a “table” showing the different lines coming from the PMO and the Minister of ICT, Hon. Pillay’s office. 15 Oct, 2013.

 28. LALIT called for Rescinding of contract with Singapore Firm, at the time when the MMM Opposition called for this, 1 Nov 2012,

 29. LALIT pasted up small posters saying, “Pa prese kamarad!”, August 2014, countrywide.

 30. Door-to-door visits in chosen areas: LALIT chose areas in which to concentrate on a thorough go slow, by explaining in detail, household by household, what the dangers are.

 31. Joint Communiqué by 9 Organizations: 9 Sept 2014, Call for ID Card Deadline to be extended to Dec 2015.

 32. LALIT sent a letter to all MPs and Ministers in the new Lepep Alliance in power, who had taken position against the biometric ID cards to ensure that the Lepep promise was kept. 12 Feb 2015

 33. Petition signed by 8 organizations to new Lepep Government, to respect its program. 30 Dec 2014.

 34. Letter to Prime Minister following Supreme Court Judgment and Injunction, 12 July, 2015, signed by 11 organizations.

 35. Letter to Minister of TCI, Hon. Jugnauth (12 July, 2015), and re-sent to Hon. Bhadain, 4 Aug 2015.

 36. Constant meetings and co-ordination with other groups and common fronts and individuals in the country, in the generalized protest movement. LALIT members also kept regular contact with the three different groups that had Supreme Court Cases against the ID Cards.

18 August, 2015