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Issue No.: 559 | January 2014
 

Snoopgate

Ashok Karnik
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In the mud-slinging season of elections, all kinds of allegations are floated by political parties; people like us are confused what to believe. Generally, people believe the worst of all politicians as their stock is very low. A case in point is the surveillance allegedly mounted on a girl by the Gujarat Government in 2009. The event is old but since Narendra Modi’s Home Minister Amit Shah had mounted the surveillance, the issue became suddenly relevant in 2013. Various organizations pretended to be concerned over the girl’s privacy that was breached through this kind of stalking. Their main agenda was to wield a stick to beat Modi with. The arguments were well made out: Why was the girl being followed round the clock? Why was so much security man-power utilized when no threat was perceived? How was telephone tapping of the girl and her contacts done without legal authorization? There were many questions without answers. At the worst, it meant that the girl was placed in something akin to a mobile prison and at the best a lot of police man-power was being (mis)used at the request of the girl’s father who was Modi’s friend. It is an embarrassment for Modi/Shah at an inopportune juncture. The Gujarat Government has appointed a Commission to look into the matter but Modi’s opponents have already dismissed it as eyewash.

BJP’s response was that the girl’s father had asked Narendra Modi to look after his daughter. The type of surveillance revealed by the tapes (not authenticated yet) does not look like it was protection for her; these indicate a check on the girl from running away with someone. Without the girl’s statement it is difficult to determine the exact problem faced by her; everything else is speculation, including allegations made by IAS Officer Sharma who knew the girl. These range from the Leader’s (Saheb) ‘personal’ interest in the girl (not borne out by the father’s conduct), the possibility of her running away with somebody in spite of her father’s opposition or her fear of being harmed by somebody, etc. Since there was no definitive information, the media went haywire on speculations. The most important point being overlooked is that the girl may be happily settled in these four years and does not want her past to be exhumed; those who are fighting to protect her right to privacy of the past may be damaging her present private life in their eagerness to do justice to her. All that is tenable for now is the misuse of government resources for private purpose. The Centre threatened to initiate its own enquiry but backed off later for want of jurisdiction. 

Every issue has at least two sides. A wise person examines all sides before coming to a conclusion.
This is an attempt to present various sides of an issue so that a considered opinion can be formed.

Readers are invited to email their points of view on serious issues of the day to ashokkarnik2001@yahoo.co.in

Readers who do not have the facility of a computer can also post (mail) their points of view on serious issues of the day to "Point Counter Point”, c/o Freedom First, 3rd floor, Army & Navy Building, 148,Mahatma Gandhi Road,Mumbai, 400 001
 
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