Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Posted by Tarun Vijay at 2:22 AM
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Published: May 8, 2013 01:57 IST | Updated: May 8, 2013 02:10 IST
The aura around the iconic search engine should not stop us from asking why it should be exempt from the law of this country
While the spirit of The Hindu’s editorial on Google (“Wrong route,” April 29, 2013) is appreciable, it is based on a flawed perception.
Google’s power and usefulness are well-recognised. An entire generation reveres Google as the god of all information. This aura makes it harder to understand the company’s conduct. It has not only contemptuously ignored the queries raised by India’s Surveyor General, but also put out a version in the media portraying those objecting to its violations as Neanderthals.
The basic issues are these: is Google India expected to follow Indian law or not? If there is a violation that is glaring and which could compromise India’s military and nuclear secrets, should we raise an objection or not? Can Google India be above all other mapping agencies working in India just because of the cosmetic aura it has woven around itself or should it be subjected to the same rules and norms applicable to others?
Google’s sin against the Constitution and the law is this: it showed vital military installations, with annotations depicting the core of the Apsara nuclear reactor, blast pens inside the Hindon airbase, ammunition depots, markings of hangers meant for specific fighter jets as well as those jets visible outside in the high resolution images, warships in naval dockyards, and much more.
To make matters worse, defence systems and infrastructure were marked over a period of time. This sensitive data showing changes on a timeline can lead to a comprehensive and accurate/predictive analysis of our defence preparedness and planned responses to a situation.
One of the arguments by Google enthusiasts is that all this information can also be accessed on Google Earth. So what’s the big deal if Google provides it on its maps? The very basis of this argument is flawed. Satellite imagery available on Google Earth or through any other remote sensing satellites can only give a viewer a vague idea of structures and objects. But it needs a highly sophisticated mechanism to decipher these images and have them accurately marked for actionable intelligence. For example, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre complex is huge, with several residential and office buildings, and reactors. It is the specific marking of the Apsara reactor that makes it vulnerable to a swift and precise attack.
Recceing an area is the key to preparing for military or terrorist action. That’s exactly what David Headley did in Mumbai before 26/11. Google is facilitating, unintentionally, a digital recce by enemies.
The other serious aspect of Google’s conduct is its brazen refusal to adhere to Indian law.
Besides the government’s Survey of India there are more than a dozen national and international mapping agencies active in India including Nokia, TomTom, MapmyIndia, etc. All of them follow the prescribed law. Why should Google be an exception? The New Mapping Policy 2005 requires that all mapping data above 1:50 K collected by private agencies should be vetted by the Ministry of Defence. While every other agency does it, the query that Surveyor General of India Swarna Subba Rao raised was whether Google had submitted the data collected through its Mapathon or its continuous map-making process through crowd sourcing for vetting, as required by the law.
Surprisingly, Google has said everything except answer this specific query. If Blackberry could be forced to provide access to its BBM data, why shouldn’t Google be asked to do so? Let this incident trigger a debate on India’s mapping policy and the changes it needs but till a consensus is reached, the nation’s constitutional position and security concerns cannot be compromised.
(Tarun Vijay is Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, and hon. director, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, a centre for civilisational values and policy research.)
Keywords: Survey of India, Mapathon 2013, Google, National Map Policy, Google mapathon contest
Printable version | May 8, 2013 10:48:47 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/drawing-the-line-on-google/article4693193.ece
© The Hindu
Posted by Tarun Vijay at 10:23 AM
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Saturday, May 4, 2013
New Delhi: MPs of BJP-led NDA on Friday met President Pranab Mukherjee to express concern over Chinese incursions into Ladakh and the manner in which the case of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh was handled by the government.
The delegation, led by NDA working chairperson LK Advani, met Mukherjee in the Rashtrapati Bhavan and submitted a memorandum seeking his intervention on the two issues.
They demanded that Mukherjee discuss these issues with the UPA government and ask them to take appropriate action.
Advani told reporters that Sarabjit had initially been given a death sentence which was commuted to life imprisonment.
"Sarabjit had reportedly completed his sentence and had received a condonation of his death sentence, as its execution had been delayed for too long. We are given to understand that he was due to be released but held back in Pakistan as a retaliatory gesture," Advani said.
The NDA alleged that Sarabjit's murder could not have taken place without "official connivance" in the Lahore jail and at least, some authorities were involved.
"What distresses us very greatly is the inaction of the Government of India, the Ministry of External Affairs and the officials concerned of not having constantly monitored this case... We are persuaded to emphasise this because we hold that our government's inaction in this case cannot be condoned. They owe the country an explanation and an apology," Advani said.
On the "unilateral and forceful Chinese occupation" in Ladakh, the NDA expressed concern that this may escalate into a 1962-like situation when there were similar incursions before it turned into a full-blown war.
"Government and the Prime Minister have repeatedly announced that this is a 'localised' incident. May we submit this would tantamount to a disingenuous evasion of government's responsibility?" Advani said.
"We would like to remind the government that silent acquiescence in the face of fait-accompli, whether of Pakistan or China is unforgivable pusillanimity. This is simply not acceptable," the NDA memorandum said.
Opposition parties submitted to the President that just because the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is undefined does not mean China can give it a unilateral physical definition through unilateral and forceful occupation.
Terming this as unacceptable, the NDA said, "This manner of unilateral 'localised' actions, resulting in seizure of land, amounts to giving a forcible and physical definition to the LAC."
The NDA leaders maintained that the "arbitrary and unilateral breach" by China cannot be viewed as normal conduct.
"It is violative of agreed principles governing the conduct of forces of China in respect of the LAC," the memorandum said.
NDA also emphasised on the need for recalling a resolution adopted by both Houses of Parliament in November, 1962.
"The government must govern, or it must go," the NDA said.
Advani insisted that the government should clarify both the Sarabjit case and the Chinese intrusions in Parliament next week.
"Is it true that Sarabjit should have been released as he had completed his life sentence?" Advani said, adding the NDA hopes government will give a response in Parliament on this issue.
BJP president Rajnath Singh pointed out to Mukherjee that before 2010 army was deployed in the Ladakh region where these incursions are taking place.
He requested that India should revert to the 2010 position and again post the army in the region. He also told Mukherjee that External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid should cancel his proposed visit to China on May 9.
Posted by Tarun Vijay at 12:30 AM
Monday, April 29, 2013
Last updated on: April 29, 2013 08:44 IST
Whether Salman Khurshid goes to Beijing [ Images ] or cancels the trip, the Chinese won’t return from their present, newly occupied position, says Tarun Vijay.
I agree that the Chinese incursion issue must not be hyped and efforts should be made to find a diplomatic resolution.
I also agree that, in a moment of national crisis, no politics should be played. The government’s efforts to safeguard the nation’s boundaries should get unanimous support.
It helps to boost the morale of the armed forces who are facing a hostile situation in a very uncharitable terrain. They are our sons, brothers and daughters. They belong to us. They are us.
In a moment of filmi frenzy, we shouldn’t forget that they listen to and read what we say and write.
India [ Images ] must behave as one unit instead of creating scenes of street fights during such crises. And I am proud to say, we have always shown the ability to do so; whether it was 1962 or Kargil [ Images ]. Secondly, 2013 is not 1962.
We are much stronger, people are much more aware and the soldier is prepared to win a war against the Chinese if the situation reaches that point.
But a war is not won by comparing the list of nuclear bombs and other arsenal with the enemy. Wars are won in the minds of those who have an unflinching commitment to their motherland and a decisive fire in their heart to punish the wrongdoer foe. The most significant fuel of this victory is the ruling political power’s support and leadership, which must not dither midway. That is exactly the problem today. One remembers Indira Gandhi [ Images ] and Atal Bihari Vajpayee [ Images ], who had resolutely stood behind their armed forces with a steel spine and given the go-ahead that brought the honour of victory to the nation. The Ladakh issue will be resolved, but the political mishandling of the incident has cost us very dear.
There are strong suspicions that certain external factors have worked hard to make the matter look graver -- almost as if an aggression has taken place -- to incite an exchange of fire between the two forces at Ladakh.
Whose interest would have been served if the Chinese prime minister’s first visit to India had been cancelled?
Who were shamelessly putting the Indian soldier at a much inferior level while comparing him to China’s People’s Liberation Army?
Was that kind of defeatist ranting on television screens helping the jawan camping before the Chinese at altitudes as high as 17,000 feet? The culprit is the nation’s political leadership that has not concerned itself with ensuring adequate military preparedness.
It is the same lethargic, Nehruvian delusion that had led ordnance factories in the '50s to make coffee machines and had led to the utterance of those infamous words at the loss of Aksai China that not a blade of grass grows there.
It’s a government that fails to protect the life of an innocent Indian, Sarabjit Singh, while sharing biryani with a savage country’s prime minister.
It’s a powerless, visionless and aimless government that dithers when it comes to protecting the honour of its honest and patriotic surveyor general against the lies of an American mapping agency. Such a leadership is an embarrassment to the nation and to the dictionary, which provides a different meaning to the word ‘leadership’. Whether Salman Khurshid goes Beijing or cancels the trip, the Chinese are not returning from their present, newly occupied position. Their statements are a clear indication of their attitude.
They feel they are in their territory; that Indians are making a foolish hue and cry over nothing. In fact, the official Chinese position holders have said that Indians are fishing in China’s troubled waters. It’s important to read what the official position of the Chinese is on this issue. The Global Times, the official English language news daily from Beijing has published a detailed report on the Ladakh incursion quoting three officials. The foreign ministry first said it couldn’t verify the matter, because it doesn’t have the relevant information.
The spokesperson for the foreign ministry simply dismissed the Indian complaint and sought to portray the issue as a small matter, saying that in the absence of the final demarcation of the border, such incidents are inevitable. But the director of the Center for Arms Control and Disarmament at the School of International Studies under Peking University, Han Hua, took an offensive stand and blamed India for ‘fishing in troubled waters’.
This line has been picked up by the local twitterati in China. Once again, an anti-Japan like passion against India is seen to be dominating Chinese social media. The three comments must be read to properly assess the tone and tenor of the belligerent Chinese response on an issue that has aroused so much anger in India.
For the Chinese, the whole issue is an Indian creation; it is a false accusation; no Chinese has ever crossed the Line of Actual control. India has unnecessarily hyped this issue, they feel, that too just before the Chinese prime minister’s Delhi [ Images ] visit which, if it materialises, will be his first foreign trip after assuming office. Reaction no 1: When contacted by the Global Times on Thursday, China's foreign ministry said it couldn't verify the news, as it doesn't have the relevant information at present.
The Indian embassy in Beijing referred the inquiry to China's foreign ministry without confirming the report. If verified, it would be Li's first overseas visit as premier. Reaction no 2: After dismissing reports about alleged trespassing by Chinese troops for three days in a row, on Thursday, Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry, once again refuted accusations that China had provoked border tensions.
"China and India are neighbours. Given that their lines of demarcation haven't been finalised, it's inevitable that problems may arise in the border region. Reaction no 3: Han Hua, director of the Center for Arms Control and Disarmament at the School of International Studies under Peking University, told the Global Times that choosing India as the first stop of the premier's visit shows China's will to improve ties, but that the current standoff may cast a shadow on the visit.
‘Reports about Chinese troops' cross-border patrols are not rare in Indian media. However, the latest hyping came at an inappropriate time before the premier's visit, and it was also inappropriate to summon the ambassador,’ Han said, adding there had been speculation that New Delhi may hope to ‘fish in troubled waters’ as Beijing is caught in an island dispute with Tokyo. India loses nothing by showing a little patience and even as she reinforces her fortification.
But this government is mired in too many domestic issues and is showing a tendency of ‘giving up’. It needs to hold on till the next government is chosen more wisely by the electorate but seems to be incapable of even doing that.
It is indeed a sad moment in our history.
Posted by Tarun Vijay at 9:13 AM
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
Sunday, April 21, 2013
|Shri Nahar Singh, the King of the Lions|
|Shri Tarun Vijay speaking to JNU students. to his right are Shri Vinod Bansal and Shri Nahar Singh and Shri Ravindra Gupta. On right Pakistani Hindu youth are wearing the T shorts with a message-' Left the land but not the Dharma. '|
|Seema from Karachi speaking about the torture they had to suffer in Pakistan, we may die but never return to Pakistan.|
|A group pic out side the Tapti hostel, JNU.|
|Another Group pic|
Shri Nahar Singh, from Haryana said that when he heard of Pakistani Hindus being harassed by Indian police he offered his house, having 28 rooms in Haryana free of cost.. In fact all the rooms were rented out to various families but he got them vacated in two days, suffering a loss of about 50 thousand rupees per month, and gave 150 Pakistani Hindus shelter in his house. He was cheered by the students. Shri Nahar Singh said that Muslims got 25% of land with 100 % reservation in the form of Pakistan, now why do they remain silent when the Hindus are tortured in Pakistan? Why should they demand more reservation in India?
One Pakistani Hindu mother said that his 21 year old son was taken away by Taliban and he never came back, Only the picture of his son's dead body was shown to her. She couldn't even know whether he was buried ? The Hindus are denied permission to the last rites of their dead because the local Muslims object . There is no cremation ground in Lahore. Another mother told about Bharati, who fled Pakistan leaving behind her three day old son with her parents.
The students, all belonging to ABVP, said that the left wing students organisations, often too vocal on human rights issues have kept a studied silence over the plight of Pakistani Hindus. For them, unless you are a Muslim you have no right to complain about the human rights violations.
Students leaders Vikas Yadav, Mamta Tiwari, Ravindra Gupta, , several Pakistani Hindus and media incharge of VHP Shri Vinod Bansal also spoke.
Posted by Tarun Vijay at 12:11 PM
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Google case referred to MHA for investigations by CBI-cyber crime cell
Will ensure Google India abides by Indian law- Tarun Vijay , MP
20th April 2013- New Delhi- Mr Tarun Vijay, Member of Parliament and Member, Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of External Affairs told today that he has been informed by Delhi Police Commissioner Mr Neeraj Kumar that the case against Google India for violating Indian mapping laws has been recommended to be investigated by the cyber crime cell of the CBI and sent to Home Ministry for taking further action as the case is a national issue,far bigger than the Delhi territory.Mr Tarun Vijay said that he will ensure that Google India abides by the Indian laws and is not allowed to spread half truths making a mockery of the Survey of India's legitimate complaint. He said that he has already given a call attention notice in Parliament in this regard and hopes govt will come out with a statement on this issue which has made the Indian defence establishment and intelligence agencies see red in the Google's arrogance that has publicly shown Air Force stations, ammunition depots, identifying the positions of the fighter planes making it possible to compare their location changes on the time line.
Mr Tarun Vijay said that the Google has sent a sort of reply to the Surveyor General of India and released the content to the media which depicted the time honoured institution of Survey of India in a poor light falsifying the message as if the onus lies on the Survey of India . He applauded the befitting reply given by the Surveyor General of India to Google which exposed the lies of the Google India . He also quoted from this letter ( dated 17th April 2013) which said,"In your response to Sh. MI Mallik, Director, Survey (Air) & Dehli GDC, Survey of India, R.K Puram, New Delhi you have stated that you had a discussion with him, which is false. In fact, neither you nor any of your representatives have met Sh. MI Mallik, Director, Survey (Air) & Delhi GDC nor visited his office."
Mr Tarun Vijay said that he fully supports the Govt action in this regard and has also spoken to the Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technolgy Mr Ramasamy urging him to be firm in protecting the national interest. He said that the govt., through the Surveyor General of India's latest letter has clearly told Google that their action is "jeopardizing the national security. In matters of national security any responsible citizen or agency takes necessary corrective action as suggested by the Government of India agency immediately. Your continued activities with implications leading to compromise of National Security are objectionable and could amount to serious offence."
Can we take the objection of India's premier state agency in mapping lightly and allow Google to play with the India laws and defence sensitivities? Vijay asked.
Posted by Tarun Vijay at 9:09 PM
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
19 February 2013, 01:10 PM IS
Having termed 90% of Indians as 'idiots', Mr Markandey Katju, the headline-grabber chairman of the Press Council of India has been supported by the Congress for his recent utterances. Nothing surprising. Mr Katju is a very busy man. Except the Press Council, everything gets his attention.
His job was to serve the cause of a free and fearless media and turn the Press Council into an effective instrument to safeguard the rights and privileges of journalists and address the grievances of the people in this regard. He has failed in that assigned duty. It will be interesting to know how many days he actually attended the office and addressed issues that affect the credibility of his institution and the media at large. Instead, he loved to become a political spokesperson enjoying perks and privileges at public expense.
Some of his gems are like this:
"I say ninety percent of Indians are idiots. You people don't have brains in your heads. It is so easy to take you for a ride." "First of all, let me tell you one thing -- Pakistan is no country. It is a fake country." And the media reported from Kolkata: "Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju has described west Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee as 'intolerant and whimsical' and warned her that she would lose power if she did not change." And the reply that came soon was this: "Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit back at her critics with the remark 'raja chale bazaar, kutta bhouke hazaar' (the king walks unperturbed as dogs bark)." The comment is believed to have been aimed at a letter by Press Council of India chief Markandey Katju.'
In a country which has the world's largest newspaper industry having more than 82,237 registered newspapers out of which 4,853 new newspapers were registered during 2010-11 and according to the annual report of World Association of Newspapers (WAN) 2011 an estimated 330 million newspapers are circulated daily in the country, the premier official body concerning media affairs received only 90 complaints in the last four years, and even 'out of the 90 complaints, more than 40 were filed four years ago'.
On an independent media watch site, The Hoot, Indira Akoijam writes, "delay in adjudications on the part of the Press Council made the complainants to either stop pursuing the case or such complaints to be disposed of depending on the Inquiry Committee. Three pending cases from the year 2007 were taken up for adjudication in 2011 and 2012. The Press Council does not cite anywhere in its published index of adjudications as to why the cases remained pending from 2007 until taken up in 2011- 2012."
An example of a serious complaint which was taken up for hearing after 12 months, illustrates the 'active' nature of the PCI: "In one case, a suo motu inquiry was directed on the reported attack on the offices of Kannada Prabha and Jaya Kirna, which appeared in The Hindustan Times, The Hindu and The Times of India. The complaint was filed on 22nd March 2010 …The complaint was finally heard on 27th February 2012 where the complainants informed that they had no grievances and hence, the Inquiry Committee dropped the suo motu inquiry." Another example of how the issues of press and morality was dealt with is an eye opener. "Two complaints were filed under this category ( Press and Morality), one dealing with an inappropriate portrayal of women in an advertisement by a local newspaper in Assam, and use of an indecent picture of a woman in one of the articles in India Today, New Delhi. One complaint was dismissed as no one appeared for the hearing and in the other case (Assam news daily, Asomiya Pratidin) PCI advised the newspaper not to accept advertisements that may corrupt young minds." (http://thehoot.org/web/HoweffectiveisthePressCouncil/6292-1-1-9-true.html) .
The Press Council under Mr Katju has become so ineffective that newspapers and magazines against which the complaints are filed often ignore its call to appear for hearing or remain dismissive of its 'cautionary advises'. Mr Katju remains soft on anti-national writings. In one case, filed by the Army against the highly objectionable and seditious article published in a Srinagar daily, the Press Council simply cautioned the editor to be more careful in the future and in another case , the editor or the owner ignored its show cause notice. What did Mr Katju do? Press Council 'expressed displeasure when the respondent did not appear for the hearing on the show cause notice. The case was subsequently dropped".
Indira Akoijam in her brilliant analysis opines about the Press Council's conduct, "even in cases dealing with morality, plagiarism, paid news and harassment, the strictest decisions only amount to being censured ... More than the fate of the cases filed before the Council, which often come to a tame end, the point to note is that several recent controversies involving members of the print media do not even come up before it. These include cases of election-time paid news, the controversies regarding the Radia tapes where print journalists were involved, the publishing of mms pictures by a leading Hindi daily, cases of regional newspapers reporting hate speech, and so on."
But ostensibly a busy Mr Katju has no time to devote on such issues for which he was appointed. Instead, he has given an impression of being an applicant in a hurry to the media cell of a political party. It's quite natural that like a mother comes to defend her errand son, a national leader of the Congress has dutifully come to rescue him.
Posted by Tarun Vijay at 6:46 AM