Under fire for ID card proposal, LG says no mandatory order issued

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New Delhi, Jan 7 (UNI) Under fire from political circles in Delhi following widespread criticism of his proposal to make possession of ID cards compulsory for residents of the National Capital from January 15, Delhi Lt Governor Tejinder Khanna today 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 15 January, 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 said at a news conference here.

Prior to the press meet, a similar assurance was also given by the LG to a delegation led by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and comprising her Cabinet colleagues followed by a delegation of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee led by DPCC chief J P Aggarwal including several Hon'ble MPs. The delegation of the Delhi Government and DPCC had called on the Lt Governor to seek a clarification regarding the ID card proposal.

Addressing the delegation, the LG clarified that in view of heightened security threats and with a view to improving public security consciousness and the security environment in the National Capital he had instructed the Police Commissioner to increase surveillance in different parts of the NCT to screen persons arousing suspicion. During such screening, possession of any photo identification document would be of convenience to the persons whose conduct may have aroused suspicion. Such increased surveillance would be during periods of enhanced security threat perception such as Republic Day, Independence Day and festivals.

The LG assured the Chief Minister and her colleagues and the DPCC (I) delegation that he has only the best interests of Delhi citizens from all walks of life at heart so that they can go about their daily lives in a more reliable and stable security environment.

Welcoming the clarification issued by the Lt Governor, Ms Dikshit said,''we welcome the statement made by the Lt Governor, after a delegation of the Delhi Government and the DPCC met him to seek clarifications on the matter.'' 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 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.'' Expressing reservations over the ID cards proposal, the Chief Minister said that 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 not practicable 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.

The ID cards proposal, mooted at a press conference by the Lt Governor on Friday, has stirred a controversity in political circles with leaders across the political spectrum in Delhi criticising it.

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

Congress MP from East Delhi Sandeep Dikshit also criticised the move.

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