Dear Modi, Please Provide Me with “Protection” as Well

Illegal surveillance. Who cares if they had the father's

Illegal surveillance. Who cares if they had the father’s “permission”?

Well I don’t need protection, but there’s no evidence that the girl who was put under surveillance needed it either. Her father asked for it? Oh, then it must have been ok! It’s not as if every father in the world would like his daughter to have 24×7 surveillance right?

Let’s get a few things clear. First, this is a prima facie case of misuse of state machinery – gross misuse. It’s not just one police officer, but an entire detachment that was wasted on following this girl and tracking her. Second, no one is interested in what the father wanted. Who is this father? He’s not her legal guardian since she’s above 18. So how can he speak for her? He has no right to interfere with her life and take decisions for her. Oh, he has every right to be worried. That’s not a problem. Being worried is not a crime. But wanting her to be followed around shows what kind of “father” this is.

Third, he also claims she knew about it. Well then, let her come and say so herself! Why is he speaking for her? I presume he’s not her attorney so what he says has no weight. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s just putting words in her mouth…like husbands and fathers do all over India every day. But it doesn’t really matter even if she did know about it. Let’s keep in mind that not just her privacy, but that of everyone of her friends and people she met was violated. They never consented to it did they?

Fourth, people are saying that if she hasn’t complained and the father doesn’t have a problem (again who is this father fellow?)  then we should all just sit quiet and forget about the matter. Oh really? Since when did non complaint of a crime be reason to drop a criminal investigation? This is not a civil case where the injured parties have to come forward with a complaint. In criminal investigations, it is the state who is the prosecutor. Just because a rape victim “forgives” her rapist (and even marries him) doesn’t mean we can all drop the whole thing with a satisfied smile. The lack of a formal complaint is irrelevant as is evidenced by the fact that the Supreme Court is now getting involved in the matter. This is basic jurisprudence.

How do you follow someone with a bunch of policemen, surreptitiously get onto the same flight with her, tap her phones and those of her family and friends and call it “protection”. Did the nuances of English change when I wasn’t looking?

Fifth, it’s not just about the snooping or the misallocation of police resources. It’s about the scale. One can make a case for putting a constable (or a couple of them) on a case to provide protection for a person who might be at risk. Even that needs a reasonable threat assessment, not just the concern of some random father. But by all accounts here we have an entire section of police following her, getting on planes, and monitoring her calls. And not just hers! The phone lines of those she knew, her family and her friends were tapped as well! So let’s pause for a moment and appreciate the breadth of the issue involved. They didn’t take just a harmless precaution. They systematically and ham handedly violated the privacy and rights of everyone whom the girl came into contact with.

As it is, India has one of the lowest police/population ratios in the world. The more you look at it, the more absurd this criminal waste of manpower becomes.

Sixth, for god’s sake keep the Congress out of this. When I lambasted the Congress for Section 66A, the Lokpal bill, for introducing terrible bills in Parliament, and cheating with the nuclear liability bill, no one brought up the BJP. The misdemeanors of the two parties are entirely separate. By all means we can (and should) talk about the corruption of the UPA, but this particular incident is about the BJP and specifically about Modi. It is entirely unreasonable to discuss the UPA’s misdeeds when we’re only concerned with whether or not he illegally misused state machinery.

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Comments

  1. I think most of the population of India is just unaware of their rights or for that matter what is illegal. Even in the most highly educated circles, a father illegally policing an adult child would not raise eyebrows.

    This reminds me of the last time I visited India. I had gone to visit the neighbors, very educated and upper middle class ones. The conversations veered towards love marriages and how they know of this really outstanding person in their caste and how he LOCKED his adult daughter up because she – an adult working woman decided to have a boyfriend who was unworthy in her father’s eyes. And all my neighbors could think of what the poor outstanding person and all the things he has to do because of his daughter.

    I think I kind of gave them a jolt when I said he is lucky to have not been arrested on charges of kidnapping because what he did is absolutely illegal. I don’t think the message sunk in though.

    Reply

    • In reply to Clueless

      That is indeed depressing :( . I mean there really seems to be no concept of individual rights and what it means to be an “adult” in India! Makes me wonder though – the guys who framed our Constitution must have been true visionaries. To have settled on that document given the framework of India at that time….amazing.

      Reply

  2. One the misuse of state machinery and power; Two, encroaching on people’s privacy; Three, the very idea that this can be done, and so blatantly.

    Reply

  3. I just watched a documentary on the Stasi and people who were spied on – reams of paper on one woman’s most ordinary and everyday activities, except one day she decided she wanted to leave East Germany… – and that makes this whole surveillance episode in India even more creepy for me. With the NSA scandal though, I guess we can all assume someone is watching all of us to some extent.

    Reply

    • In reply to The Bride

      I think the difference between the NSA snooping and this is that we can assume the NSA is not personal. The people listening have no connection to the individual in question and the decision to snoop isn’t taken by politicians or at the behest of anyone else.

      Can you imagine the outrage if people found out that Obama had personally ordered a woman to be trailed, followed in an aircraft and the phones of her friends and family tapped? He would be impeached the very next day!

      Reply

  4. Poor you… you and your friends must be in mourning ever since a certain left wing “crusader for justice” decided to assault one of his female colleagues in an elevator; forcibly lift her skirt, pull down her underwear and forcibly penetrate her with his fingertips!

    And then there was a certain feminist who explained why rape should always be an “internal matter”. Oops!
    Did I say “rape”? That was a lapse of judgement on my part; the politically correct term is “untoward incident”.

    Hey maybe the Indian left wing NGO types can push to amend the Domestic Violence Act and Dowry
    Prevention Acts to have these declared as “internal matters”. For instance, if a married woman faces
    domestic violence, she can always bring her case to an internal family panel headed by her mother-in-law, no?

    Well….at least he didn’t snoop on her! But hey, give poor Tejpal a break. He did agree to go on a 6 month paid vacation! Maybe he could write that great romance novel he always wanted to (or perhaps rape another woman)
    Does it even matter? He is a left winger so it is ok, isnt it?

    I know I am being unfair. Fair minded justice lovers like Javed Akhtar have not made any effort to shield Tejpal. As Akhtar explained, its not like Tejpal did something small and totally forgivable like molesting a woman while drunk. What he did is much worse.

    Reply

    • In reply to Abhishek

      See last para of my post. Namely, when talking about one misdeed, don’t talk about others.

      I don’t really care about Tejpal – why should I?

      Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        But that’s how mudslinging works, doesn’t it? You are trying to throw mud (and some on your side are throwing bombs) at Narendra Modi because he blows your comfortable liberal echo chamber apart. It’s something your people have done for 11 straight years. So, why such consternation now that Tejpal bapu’s ashram is collapsing?

        Reply

      • In reply to Abhishek

        You’re making a lot of assumptions here that are getting in the way of your argument. For one thing, who is “you people”? Are you saying there’s some other author on this blog? I assure you there’s one owner – me!

        There is no “my side”. There seem to be a lot of imaginary people you’re referring to. I don’t know, they may or may not exist, but at least lets define them before going forward.

        Second, what is this “liberal” echo chamber? I assure there there is no liberal party in India. So again you may be referring to someone else I’m not aware of in which case it’ll be nice to know who you’re talking about.

        Third, I have never shown any consternation for this Tejpal guy. I had never heard of him before, and I will doubtless forget about him in a few days. Why is he more important than any other molestation accused in India? Is it because he runs a newspaper? I really don’t know…

        So far no one has explained to me why he deserves to be in the news. He’s just taking up space in my RSS feeds and I’ve ignored the whole matter so far. Perhaps you can explain to me who he is and why I should care?

        And how on earth is he linked to Modi? Is he related to the woman Modi was spying on or something?

        Finally, I’m not “trying to throw mud”. I’m expressing concern that a PM nominee ordered the surveillance of a woman for personal reasons. If you define that as “throwing mud”, then yes I’m throwing mud. But know that most people would not consider this reasonable concern as “throwing mud”.

        Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        ” I’m expressing concern that a PM nominee ordered the surveillance of a woman for personal reasons. ”

        Really? Never seen you express concern about the Sukanya rape case on Rahul Gandhi. Oh, that’s just a conspiracy, no?

        Reply

      • In reply to Abhishek

        Trust me – as soon as you provide me with credible evidence of it, I will raise a hue and cry about it. Are there tapes? Is there video?

        The allegations against Modi are not just allegations. Neither side has denied what happened and for the first time there is concrete evidence. If you’re going to equate the two, at least make sure that they’re the same in all essential aspects.

        The SC had cleared RG saying “The allegation is without substance and without an iota of evidence,” a bench of justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said.

        So I don’t understand. I’m supposed to express concern over an allegation with no evidence whatsoever?

        Also, is RG a PM candidate yet?

        I’m curious. The two cases and circumstances are so wildly apart in their important aspects that I’m puzzled over you mentioning them in the same breath. There must be another reason for your conflating the two. Could you explain your reasons to me?

        Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        Are you kidding me? Where was the media storm when Sukanya rape allegations surfaced? Why is Modi guilty until proven innocent, but Rahul is innocent until proven guilty?

        Oh wait…that was wrong. Modi is not “guilty until proven innocent”, Modi is “guilty even if proven innocent”! He has been exonerated multiple times by a range of courts; including the Supreme Court. As it stands, there is not a single case pending against Narendra Modi today in any court in India. And yet, he is guilty! No question of respecting the judicial process and its verdict in his case!

        But with Rahul, our Lord and Savior, we must respect the verdict of the Supreme Court.

        Is Rahul a PM candidate yet? LOL! In case you have forgotten, Modi is in the opposition and Rahul is ALREADY in power. He has been in power for nearly 10 years now….where is the question of being a candidate? Rahul is IN POWER!

        Here is a list of some judicial verdicts. See if you can spot the one that should be respected
        and those which shouldnt

        A) SC verdict in Sukanya rape case

        B) SC verdict on Modi in all Gujarat riot cases

        C) Allahabad HC verdict in Babri Masjid case

        D) Shah Bano verdict

        Reply

      • In reply to Abhishek

        I think you may not have read what I wrote before. The Modi allegations have tape and video evidence backing them and the people involved haven’t denied that it happened either. Nor is RG a PM nominee.

        As far as the SC and Godhra goes, I have repeatedly stated on this blog that I will blindly support the SC verdict whatever it is. In fact I will support any HC or SC verdict for anyone regardless of the crime.

        Again, I get the feeling you’re arguing with someone else…not me.

        Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        “The SC had cleared RG saying “The allegation is without substance and without an iota of evidence,” a bench of justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said. ”

        Awww….poor Rahul baba, accused in a fake case and exonerated by the Supreme Court.

        It should not matter that the Supreme Court has said something very simiar about these accusations you are pushing on Modi. Lets find out what the Supreme Court had to say to Pradeep Sharma:

        http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-05-13/india/29539606_1_kuldip-sharma-narendra-modi-pradeep-sharma

        When the bench of Justices Alam and Lodha expressed displeasure over the wild allegations, Sharma’s counsel senior advocate Colin Gonsalves said the petitioner did not intend to press them. But, the bench said, “You cannot raise averments in your petition like this and later say the pleadings are not being pressed. Either you stand by it or strike it off. We will not permit such character assassination.”

        Sweet sweet hypocrisy….

        Reply

      • In reply to Abhishek

        Again…whatever the SC or HC verdict returns I will support.

        Did you read my response to your last post? Are you arguing with me or with some imaginary person in your own head?

        As for this stalking issue, it hasn’t been denied and there is video tape evidence. You’re not suggesting those are on the same footing as the other cases you’ve talked about are you?

        Evidence > No evidence.

        Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        But the allegation on Modi has been made before and the SC has already dismissed it. Can’t you read the article?

        Reply

      • In reply to Abhishek

        Mmm…no, I’m sorry. I don’t see the statement where the SC has said that Modi never snooped on a woman or that the tapes are fake. Maybe I’m missing it. Could you please point out the specific sentences to me?

        Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        The case in court being filed by Pradeep Sharma is exactly the same as what he filed before. And the SC has said before that there is no case whatsoever….

        As for the tapes, you say:

        “I don’t see the statement where the SC has said that Modi never snooped on a woman ”

        Could you please point out the specific sentence in the tape where it says that Modi is snooping on the woman?

        For that matter, the SC has also not said that you are not a cannibal.

        Reply

      • In reply to Abhishek

        For that matter, the SC has also not said that you are not a cannibal.

        Come, there are two types of people who comment on my blog. Those who’re interested in serious discussion and those who want to troll or spam. Don’t be in the second category!

        I’m perfectly willing to believe that Modi wasn’t involved. But the BJP hasn’t denied it which I’m sure you’ll agree is the usual standard response, leading me to believe that it’s true. In fact, the BJP has actually given reasons for why it happened etc. Again, not what you would expect them to do if it was false.

        But it goes even further. The BJP has admitted that the “family friend” was Modi. So…I’m not really sure what you’re pressing for here.

        Given this, I’m not being unreasonable here to start off with the assumption that it’s true. I agree this is a preference thing and you’re perfectly at liberty to come down on the other side of the fence.

        Reply

  5. @Abhishek – Seems like you have picked your side and you will defend it to your death no matter what shenanigans they may be up to. Let me define “they” here – I am referring to the Sangh Parivar and their cronies. BJP is firmly in that camp. The same BJP which gave elaborate but silly reasons for why it was perfectly reasonable for Modi to be using state machinery to spy on a young woman.

    Perhaps we need to ask the follow up question: Why? Why did Modi want this woman followed and monitored closely? What is the angle here?

    Reply

    • In reply to Prem

      I like your choice of words: ” Seems like you have picked your side and you will defend it to your death”.

      The Patna attack showed that killing us is your last hope. Our deaths seem to be at the top of your mind.

      Reply

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