Mizoram government employee Hmingtei claimed she was alarmed when she was flooded by text messages asking for “everything – bank account, mobile number – to be linked to Aadhaar”. “Even for salary, government is telling us we need to link Aadhaar,” said Hmingtei, who works at the department of information and public relations and only goes by one name.

Over the last couple of years, the Government of India has made Aadhaar, a 12-digit biometrics-based unique identity number, mandatory to access a variety of government benefits and services. The ever-expanding ambit of Aadhaar has been challenged on various grounds, including privacy and constitutional validity, with the matter currently in the Supreme Court.

Hmingtei is among thousands of citizens across India who are anxious about the spread of Aadhaar. However, her primary fear stems from a somewhat peculiar source: that getting a unique identification number is akin to being marked by the devil. In Mizoram, where Christians account for over 87% of the state’s population, Hmingtei has company.


In Christianity, the devil is associated with the number 666. This comes from the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, which has a prophecy that there will come a time when “no man will be able to buy or sell” except those marked by the name or the number of the beast (or devil): 666. The fear of this number even has a term for it: hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.

From all accounts, the objections to Aadhaar by Hmingtei and a few other Christians stem from the fear of this prophecy.

Last year, in Mizoram, people who objected to Aadhaar on these grounds formed a group called Mizoram Against Biometric Enrolment. People have also expressed similar concerns in Meghalaya, another Christian-majority state in the North East. And last week, a petitioner from Mumbai moved the Supreme Court saying that Aadhaar violated his fundamental right to religion, and sought exemption from it on the grounds that Christianity did not permit it.

Devout government employees

Mizoram Against Biometric Enrolment consists entirely of state government employees. “We are around 400 people, all government servants,” claimed Hmingtei. “When we conducted a campaign on November 22, 23, and 24 last year, thousands of people joined us. We could not officially register them because they were not government employees.”

The president of Mizoram Against Biometric Enrolment is Lalziarana, a school teacher from state capital Aizawl. Lalziarana said he refrained from registering for Aadhaar as it went against his religious beliefs. “I am a Christian, but in the Bible, we have been asked not to do it,” he said.

He claimed that Aadhaar itself was not the beast but biometric enrolment was “preparation for the coming of the beast”. He said his fears were confirmed by Hmingtei, who claims to “have gone through spiritual enlightenment in 1994”.

Hmingtei explained, “During that time, the Holy Spirit led me through the whole Book of Revelation, and deep inside my heart I have [an] explanation of [the] Revelation. Now, as was explained by the Holy Spirit, the world is fulfilling the prophecy of the Bible.”

In most Christian denominations, the Holy Spirit is considered to be the third constituent of what is referred to as the “Holy Trinity”, with the others being God the Father, and God the Son (Jesus Christ).

Elaborating on her prognosis, Hmingtei added, “In our Bible, there is a prophecy that [the] whole world will be controlled by one group. This seems to be going that way, all the [biometric] data goes to UN [United Nations].”

No church support

Few churches in the state share the concerns of Mizoram Against Biometric Enrolment. On the contrary, they have repeatedly affirmed that there is nothing to fear from Aadhaar, and have even actively supported enrolment. As of March 15, the Aadhaar enrolment rate in Mizoram was 81.2 %. This has left the likes of Lalziarana disgruntled. He has stopped attending church.

“The church will support the government,” said Hmingtei, her voice tinged with disappointment. “I still go to church, but outside it I do my struggle against biometric enrolment.”

Do her friends and family believe in her cause?

“The government has made Aadhaar compulsory for so many services, so what can people do?” she said.

Asked about Mizoram Against Biometric Enrolment’s future plans, Hmingtei said she was optimistic. “Till now we hear good news, the court is delaying the compulsory linking to banks many times,” she said. “We know that our brothers and sisters in the mainland are fighting against it for privacy reasons, so we support them.”

Hmingtei claims she will not be swayed even if the court rules in favour of the government. “Even if it is mandatory, we will not do it, we will go by the Bible,” she said.