WOES OF VOTERS ON VOTERS DAY
EPICs riddled with mistakes
Srinagar, Jan 25: Even as the Government was confident on this Voters Day to complete much publicized drive for voter registration process in Jammu and Kashmir, numerous complaints are pouring in that Election Photo Identity Cards (EPICs) are riddled with enormous mistakes like incomplete addresses, wrongly spelt names and incorrect dates of birth.
Multiple visits to the electoral registration office to get their identity cards rectified are only adding to the woes of people. Many residents are even being asked to apply afresh to correct the errors.
Election Commission has been airing several announcements on radio and television for public to get mistakes in their cards rectified simply by filing up Form 6. But large number of complaints received by Greater Kashmir rubbished these claims.
A resident of Batmaloo area of Srinagar, Rashid Ahmad, said a government clerk deputed by the Election Commission to gather information came to his house and asked many questions.
I replied to all of them very patiently. He was very particular about the spelling of name, father’s name, the date of birth etc. All this has been checked by me twice before. I also gave the latest passport size photo,” Rashid narrated his interaction with the official to this reporter.
The official told me that my duty is over, now it’s his duty to get me the ID card after a few days,” he said. “But after waiting for months, there was no sign of the card,” he added.
Rashid said three months later the same clerk came to his home with the EPIC. “But I was surprised when I found my card with different photo affixed on it,” he said.
Ghulam Nabi of Budgam said he recently collected four EPICs for his family members. “But not a single card was correctly made. Every card has one or other mistake,” he said.
My name has been spelt wrongly and my date of birth was incomplete with only the year mentioned,” he said.
A resident of Nowgam said the correction procedure was time-consuming. “I applied afresh some eight months ago with a block electoral officer, but till now I’m yet to receive my card,” he added.
EPIC has assumed importance when it comes to identity proof, and it is valid throughout India.
“But in Kashmir they are full of errors that created hurdles for us in getting passports, phone connections, SIM cards, opening of bank accounts etc.,” Bashir Ahmad of Batamaloo told this newspaper.
Voter identity card holders further said they faced lots of problems as there was no mention of their district and state in their identity cards.
We face hardships on visiting other States. Our cards are not being entertained there. They tell us our cards are fake as there is no mention of the State and district,” a card holder, Ghayas ud din Shamiri of Budgam said.
A resident of Islamabad (Anantnag) Abdul Karim said, “When we show our cards to officials outside, they don’t entertain it saying EPIC from Kashmir won’t be applicable here.”
A businessman who visits outside the valley frequently for business purposes said: “I was questioned by Delhi Police personnel outside the railway station last year and they asked me about my name and address and told me to show my EPIC, I showed them but unfortunately my surname is mistakenly mentioned as Beigh instead of Malik.”
They grew suspicious of me because of wrong surname on my card. They started questioning me why I have different name in my card, I had no answers but fortunately I had my driving license with me on which my correct name was mentioned and I showed them my license only after that they let me go,” he said.
Ali Muhammad of Buchpora area said he complained about mistakes in his EPIC to an electoral official. “But after waiting for one year there is no sign of my renewed ID card and I am still waiting for it,” he said.
Another hilarious example of official negligence is that date of birth of son is shown three years less than his father.
When contacted, the Joint Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation and Electoral Registration Officer said: “There is no problem with our local staff that is recruited for gathering information about the population and data of individuals. The mistakes are due to non-local vendors who are responsible for the data entry. They are not aware about the local names and language.”
About mistakes in date of birth, he said: “Most of times it is the person who gives wrong information about his /her date of birth. We cannot do anything about it. It is their responsibility to mention facts rightly and honestly.”
However we have already reported the complaints to the Chief Electoral Officer. We will probably appoint local vendors in the future,” he said.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 25 Jan 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 25 Jan 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 26 Jan 2012 00:00:00 IST
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