Lalzirliana, a resident of Chaltlang in Mizoram’s capital of Aizawl, is convinced that biometric or Aadhaar enrolment is the beginning of the “mark of the beast,” a sign of the Antichrist that is mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Revelation which is commonly referred to as “666,” or the number of the beast. Like Lalzirliana, thousands of Christians in Mizoram are struck by hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.
While at first he ignored his concerns surrounding the information that was being collected, he eventually doubled down when one stenographer Hmingtei, a Mizoram government employee who claimed to have a vision from God narrated that the Aadhaar enrolment process and the mandated data collection violate the Bible which according to her, clearly warned against being enrolled in a system of identification and financial control that ties to one’s body.
A senior journalist of the state E Lalhleia holds the same apprehension; he believed that Aadhaar enrolment process, with finger print and iris scan data, is similar to the warning issued in the Book of Revelation. “Various interpretations of the book note that the ‘beast’ is symbolic of modern day political power. The Book, at Chapter 13, warns that anyone who receives such a number will face dire consequences,” E Lalhleia said.
Lalzirliana, who is now the chairman of Mizos Against Biometric Enrolment, and a high school headmaster by profession, once had earned respect from the church he belonged to, he now has ex-communicated himself from the church. “The Presbyterian Church accepts the enrolments, it rather encourages it, this is no place for me,” he said citing the reasons why he ex-communicated from the church.
“Just like the Hindus are against eating beef, Muslims against pork, Christians should avoid this enrolment,” Lalzirliana said.
Apart from religion, constitutionally, Lalzirliana and his followers of the association believe that their religious views have been impeded upon and that the government is violating their rights. not to undergo unreasonable search and seizure. A group called the Constitutional Alliance, a non-profit organization, is supporting her legal battle. She is also represented by the Rutherford Institute, a civil rights legal firm that provides representation free-of-charge.
The Mizos Against Biometric Enrolment is fully aware of the recent the Supreme Court’s hearing on a petitions on the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar, faced with a peculiar petition by a devout Christian’ seeking exemption from submitting biometric data citing religious belief.
“Several cases are being taken up by the Supreme Court, we are anxiously waiting on its verdict,” Lalzirliana said adding that: “Even if the verdict is not in our favour, we will not budge nor take the matter to court ourselves, we are prepared to face anything which goes against our faith.”
The Mizos Against Biometric Enrolment feels that the “beast” is not India nor the Aadhaar, but opined that the biometric enrolment was just the beginning, “Those who enrolled will be an instruments of the impending beast, the 666,” they believed.
The Mizos Against Biometric Enrolment claimed that there are about one lakh people who will not enrol standing up against the “instruments of the 666.”
So far, there are about 100 government employees in Mizoram who preferred voluntary retirement to linking their government documents with Aadhaar.
The Mizos Against Biometric Enrolment hold a firm conviction that one day God would demarcate a sovereign for the Mizos, a boundary that would embrace all the ethnic tribes of Mizo. “The time is coming, God has had envisioned us the detail demarcation,” Lalzirliana said.
The Mizoram General Administration Department said that over 94 per cent people in Mizoram have Aadhaar cards and that people who had earlier refused to go for Aadhaar owing to religious beliefs were being enrolled, but for the remainder of the population yet to be enrolled, the fear of becoming “an instrument of the impending beast, the 666” will sure hold up future enrolments.