Wednesday, January 18, 2012

E-Mail Tapping Controversy in Kerala – Some Questions

The Malayalam Weekly named Madhyamam, from Kerala, published an article which alleged that Kerala Police and the state Government were selectively targeting members of Muslim community, by tapping their email and profiling them.  It created a huge controversy in Kerala and was also taken up by the Opposition Leader VS Achuthanandan, to blame the Chief Minister and Government.

Facts however came out soon. Director General of Police inquired the matter and came up with explanation that the letter in question, written by the Intelligence Wing of Kerala Police to its own Cyber cell, was based on the email id’s recovered from a suspect who is under investigation.

When the email id’s were recovered from the suspect, what was Police supposed to do? Just throw them in the dust bin? Or verify those addresses and find out who the real persons are and what their connection with the suspect is? Presumably, the suspect is involved with the banned terror organisation, SIMI, and therefore his contacts become very important from intelligence gathering on terror activities. 

That was precisely what the Kerala Police did. They wrote a letter to the Cyber Cell to verify the addresses and Cyber Cell has since confirmed that they have not conducted any tapping of any of the e-mails.  Out of 268 id’s that were recovered 258 of them were of members of Muslim community. Police’ letter did not differentiate between the Muslims or others. They asked for verification of all.

While writing the letter for verification, the concerned officer (probably to justify the verification itself) wrote that the persons behind these id’s were suspected to be associated with SIMI.  Most likely he was referring to their suspected association to the SIMI activist under investigation. 

Madhyamam got hold of this internal letter of Police and published an article, stating that the letter was a proof of selective targeting of Muslim community.  In the process of strengthening their theory (or deliberately to create animosity among Muslims against the Government) they published extract of the list of id’s as proof; but not before fraudulently removing the Hindu and Christian names from that published part of the list and replacing them with other id’s of Muslims!

Madhyamam had the letter in their hand. There is no way Madhyamam can defend their action of fraudulent publication of a Police letter so as to deliberately give an impression that the Police was against Muslims only.

This action of the publication cannot be condoned on the ground of any freedom of expression. This is a criminal conspiracy and must be dealt with as such.  I am glad to know that, after initial reservations, Government is proposing to proceed against the publication. Right to Freedom of Expression does not include Right to Fraudulent Expression!

Whenever there is a terror attack, we all blame police and government for not being able to gather intelligence in advance so as to prevent such attacks.  How do you gather the intelligence, except by verifying and conducting surveillance over suspects and their contacts? Are our sentiments more valuable than the security of human lives?

When some media target the policemen who are doing their duty of gathering intelligence and investigating crimes in a legal manner, wouldn’t that affect their morale? Can we afford such deliberate intimidation of our officers?

Too many questions... I think it is waste of time to answer these questions as the answers are obvious to anyone who is interested in the welfare of this country and its people.


  1. Well said..The paranoid of hurting sentiments has to change in favor of pro-active action. The media is clearly the culprit and has to be bankrupted! My wish!


  2. Gathering intelligence on suspected terrorists is what the police should be doing. The one time our cops do their jobs, this is what happens. Why do we make everything political??

  3. You know more than what our intelligence know! You have written a beautiful story as you know everything. The interactions, conversations, communications, orders and everything. Don't just write stories. Stick to proofs. Finally ask yourself a few more questions. What happened finally to the controversial love jihad? Why were Ishrat Jahan and others killed?

  4. Controversial issues wont overshadow the bombing and terror strikes happening frequently across the country.If people are suspected to be members of terror groups, the police should be gathering intelligence on them. We need a proper intelligence infrastructure. That will take powers off the local state police dpts, and false encounter issues will not happen.

  5. We need more investigation on the issue.In the meanwhile we have to ensure that the communal harmony of the state is not endangered by any one including media.