CM, DPCC chief hail LG's clarification on ID cards issue

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New Delhi, Jan 7 (UNI) Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief J P Agarwal today welcomed Lt Governor Tejender Khanna's clarification that no mandatory order had been issued making possession of ID cards compulsory for residents of the national capital from January 15.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Dikshit said,''we welcome the statement made by the Lt Governor, after a delegation of the Delhi Government comprising all the state Cabinet Ministers and a group of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee members led by J P Aggarwal called on him at his residence to seek clarifications on the issue.'' Claiming that neither the Delhi Government nor the DPCC were consulted before making any announcement in the regard, the Chief Minister said,''both I and the DPCC president Mr Agarwal came to know about the proposal, made by the LG in a press conference on Friday, through reports appearing in the newspaper on Saturday.'' The Chief Minister said while it was understandable that the proposal to make possession of ID cards by residents of Delhi compulsory may have been necessitated by the need for increase surveillance in the capital during periods of enhanced security threat perception such as Republic Day, Independence Day and religious festivals, any such move was no practical and, hence, not acceptable to them.

''Also, the proposal to make possession of driving licenses validated by the All India Automobile association or the Delhi Traffic Police is not acceptable to us. Our objections to the ID card proposal and that pertaining to getting the driving license validated were conveyed to the Lt Governor by us,''she said.

In a press conference today, called in the wake of a barrage of criticism over his proposal to make possession of ID cards compulsory for residents of the national capital from January 15, Delhi Lt Governor Tejinder Khanna clarified that no mandatory order had been issued in this regard.

''No mandatory order has been issued regarding compulsory possession of ID cards or their checking as such by the police from January 15, 2008. Nor was it ever intended or suggested that non-possession of a photo ID would be treated as any kind of violation or elicit punitive action by the police,'' Mr Khanna told reporters.

The Lt Governor said he had instructed the Police Commissioner to increase surveillance in different parts of the NCT and screen persons arousing suspicion in view of the heightened security threat and to improve public security consciousness.

''During such screening, possession of any photo identification document would be of convenience to the persons whose conduct may have aroused suspicion,'' he said.

The BJP has termed the January 4 announcement ''impractical, while the CPI(M) has demanded the withdrawal of the ''draconian'' provision.

Congress MP from east Delhi Sandeep Dikshit also criticised the move, describing it as impracticable.

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