Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Wednesday told reporters that he had not registered for an Aadhaar card yet. The Congress leader said he shared his people’s concern about their right to privacy, PTI reported. “[Our] right to privacy is important in a democracy, else the whole idea of democracy is diluted,” he said.

Sangma also said that Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had written to the Centre seeking an exemption from the unique identification number programme. The Meghalaya chief minister said he had discussed the matter with his Assamese counterpart Sonowal, who is in the Bharatiya Janata Party. “We have written to the Government of India,” Sangma said. “The issue is that we are in a situation which is different from other states. The kind of problem due to illegal immigration and influx is a common concern of the people of Meghalaya and Assam and the entire Northeast.”

Over a 100 people in Meghalaya have joined an initiative to opt out of Aadhaar, claiming they were coerced into getting the 12-digit biometrics-based unique identification number.

The issue of alleged illegal migration has impeded Aadhaar enrolment in neighbouring Assam too. The enrolment rate for Aadhaar in that state is the lowest in the country at just over 7%. Meghalaya has the second lowest rate at 14.3%. In Assam, the BJP-led government had in January ordered a ban on new Aadhaar enrolment till the state finishes updating its National Register of Citizens.

On October 30, the Supreme Court had criticised the West Bengal government for challenging the Centre’s directive to link all social welfare schemes with Aadhaar.