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Archives for : April2017

Techie who questioned EVMs back: ‘EC’s latest challenge is a mistake’

Though not keen to take up the EC challenge this time, Prasad continues to maintain that EVMs are vulnerable to hacking.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi |

EVM, EVM tampering, EVM techie, hari k prasad, assembly election results, mayawati, harish rawat, uttar pradesh election results, uttar pradesh evm tampering, indian express, india newsHari K Prasad was arrested in 2010. FileIt has been almost eight years since Hari K Prasad tried to prove that the electronic voting machine used in India is not tamper-proof. The face of the EVM sceptics movement in 2009, however, had been keeping a low profile during the current controversy over EVMs being vulnerable to tampering.

Until last week. Prasad’s Twitter account, inactive for a year, has sprung back to life as he has started to share his thoughts on the Election Commission’s plan to challenge naysayers to demonstrate the alleged fallibility of EVMs. “ECI doing the mistake once gain, challenging techies is like falling into their own trap,” he tweeted on April 13 at 7.11 am. Another tweet followed an hour later: “ECI shud first invite for an open security audit in EVMs to list out all vulnerable touch points for criminals and secure wrap one by one.”

Prasad, then managing director of Netindia Pvt Ltd, was arrested in 2010 following an attempt at proving that EVMs can be tampered. His arrest pushed his company — which lost business while his employees felt threatened, he claims — to the brink of ruin.

Though not keen to take up the EC challenge this time, Prasad continues to maintain that EVMs are vulnerable to hacking. “EVMs without VVPAT [voter verified paper audit trail] are vulnerable,” he told The Indian Express in an interview over the phone. “No electronic machine is secure without a tangible receipt that can be verified. Electronics can always be manipulated. It’s just a matter of understanding the technology.”

VVPAT machines produce a printout of the vote cast on EVMs, which can be used later to resolve any dispute. “Even the EC had admitted that there is a possibility to manipulate an EVM when proper administrative measures are not in place,” Prasad said. “They had agreed to implement the VVPAT. Why don’t they just commit to rolling out VVPAT before 2019 [Lok Sabha elections] instead of challenging technicians to prove hacking? This will silence all allegations.”

Prasad cites his personal experience of participating in the EVM challenge of 2009 to justify his disapproval of the EC’s plan to repeat the exercise in the first week of May. He alleges that EC officials had interrupted him 15 minutes into his attempt and didn’t allow him to finish. However, the EC’s press statement at that time said that no one was able to prove their allegations of hacking.

Asked about the EC’s stand that no one had been able to demonstrate tampering in 2009, he said, “They had recorded the entire meeting on video. If they are so confident, why don’t they show it to the world…?”

Having accused the EC of not providing him access long enough to prove his point, Prasad managed to get an EVM in 2010 and demonstrated its supposed vulnerability to tampering in a video. He was later arrested on charges of stealing an EVM.

About the current challenge, he said, “Look, a criminal will never come over and show you how he or she is going to hack a machine, is he? Currently, the EC is citing a host of administrative precautions being taken to prevent hacking. But what about insider threat or collusion that happens under the incumbent government? Is the EC is sure that no EVM has ever been stolen from any of their warehouses? The security of these machines is not of military grade. The administrative measures… alone cannot make the machines safe from hacking. Which is why I think the EC should call for an open security audit or a hackathon rewarding people who can highlight loopholes… instead of throwing a challenge that antagonises technical experts,” said the entrepreneur, who is currently a member of the e-governing council of Andhra Pradesh and one of the architects of the AP overhead fibre optic network .

Prasad doesn’t agree with Opposition parties’s demand that the EC revert to voting by paper ballots. “We need them [EVMs] because they’ve made the election process quicker. My limited point is that EVMs need to be supported by VVPATs which can be cross-verified in case of a controversy.”

He refrained from commenting on Opposition’s allegations that the EVMs used in the recently-concluded elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab were rigged.

The EC, he adds, should tweak the VVPAT design to permit a two-step verification process. Currently, the paper trail machine prints a receipt only after the vote has been cast. In case the vote has been incorrectly registered, the elector cannot prevent the receipt from dropping into in the ballot box. The voter can only raise a complaint with the polling official, who might order a replacement for the EVM. Prasad wants that the voter should be allowed to first check if the EVM is working correctly by casting a dummy vote. After verification with the VVPAT slip, the voter should cast her final vote and only the second VVPAT slip should be deposited in the ballot box.

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Arnab served legal notice not to use phrase ‘Nation wants to know’


 MUMBAI: Who owns the popular phrase “Nation Wants to Know” used by Arnab Goswami in the prime time show ‘Newshour’ telecast on Times Now? Arnab, who served as Times Now editor-in-chief, has received a legal notice from The Times Group over the use of the phrase even as he is getting ready to launch English news channel Republic TV.

In a three-minute audio clip posted on YouTube, Arnab has said that he has been threatened with imprisonment by a media group if he were to use that phrase on TV. He did not name the media group. “I’ve just received another legal threat. This time I’m sharing it with you.

A media group has sent me a six-page letter threatening me with imprisonment if I ever use the phrase ‘nation wants to know’. They say they own the phrase,” Arnab said. “ARG Outliers had filed for trademark for these and similar phrases which were already filed for and extensively used for years by Times Now.

We have responded with a standard caution notice. He (Arnab) is just trying to gain soundbytes from it,”

Mint quoted a Times Network spokesperson as saying. As reported by earlier, Arnab has teamed up with Rajya Sabha MP and NDA vice-chairman Rajeev Chandrasekhar for his TV and digital news venture. The two, along with Goswami’s wife Samyabrata Ray Goswami, have floated two companies named ARG Outlier Media and SARG Media Holding for the venture.

In the audio clip, Arnab further stated: “I have watched the nervous antics of this media group with amusement and horror for the last few months. Today I am replying to them. In public. To them, I say: The threat of imprisonment will not deter me. Bring your moneybags and your lawyers, file the criminal case against me for using the phrase “Nation Wants to Know”.

Do everything you can, spend all the money you have and arrest me. I am waiting right now in my studio floor. Come, enforce your threat. Viewers, the phrase “Nation Wants to Know” belongs to you, to me, and to all of us, every citizen of this country.” Arnab said that he had used the phrase with pride for the last 20 years, in his reporting and on debates. “Every Indian has a right to use that phrase. And this phrase comes from the heart.”


Arnab asked the public if he should stop using the phrase. Also Read:

Read more at: |

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PIL filed in Delhi HC over Kulbhushan Jadhav’s release


The petitioner Rahul Sharma requested to the Centre on the possibility of seeking legal remedies through International Court of Justice.

Former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage.(Photo: AP)

 Former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage.(Photo: AP)

New Delhi: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking response from the Centre on exploring remedies via International Court of Justice for Kulbhushan Jadhav’s release.

The petitioner Rahul Sharma sought the intervention of court on the issue of release of Jadhav and also requested it to sought response from the Centre on the possibility of seeking legal remedies through International Court of Justice for Jadhav’s release.

The Pakistan Army has ruled out any consular access to alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, saying he is not eligible for it as per the laws.

“Kulbhushan is not eligible for consular access nor will be granted consular access,” said Pakistan Armed Forces spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor. He alleged that Jadhav, caught on anti-state activities, was trialed under court martial.

“This was purely an act by the Army to which the Army as an institution said we will not compromise on his sentence,” he said. The Pakistan Army had earlier said there will be ‘no compromise’ on the issue of death sentence awarded to Jadhav.

Jadhav was awarded death penalty on April 10 in an unprecedented decision that triggered diplomatic spat between the two hostile neighbours.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier warned Islamabad that it risked damaging bilateral ties with New Delhi if it went ahead with the execution of Jadhav.

Jadhav was arrested in March last year in the restive Balochistan province and accused of being a Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) agent. India has, however, so far categorically denied such charges.

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Ahmedabad- Boards appear saying “Welcome to Hindu Rashtra”



AHMEDABAD: Since 1995, BJP has been the incumbent party in Gujarat. Over 22 years of unchallenged leadership has made Gujarat elections a matter of prestige for the Hindutva leadership. Anything less than a substantial victory in the upcoming 2017 elections in Gujarat might reflect on the outcome of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The saffron camp is setting the stage for the upcoming electoral challenge. Last weekend, “Welcome to Hindu Rashtra” boards were spotted in various localities in Ahmedabad including Krishna nagar, Meghaninagar, Shahibaug and Anupam cinema areas of Ahmedabad. The boards have been put up by Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal with names and contact numbers of organisers.

This affiche in Gujarati translates to:

Welcome to Meghaninagar locality,

Of Naroda district,

Of Karnavati metropolitan city,

Of the Hindu Rashtra.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad

Secretary: Vasantbhai Patel

M: 9898703892

Bajarang Dal

Organiser: Mukeshbhai Patel

M: 9638028655

Ahmedabad has been mentioned as “Karnavati”.Similar boards with just the name of the locality changed to Krishnagar and Shahibaug were also found in the respective areas.

Karnavati instead of Ahmedabad is to become one of the token political agendas for the BJP campaign in Gujarat. The city was originally named Ahmedabad by King Ahmad Shah I, in honour of four Ahmads, himself, his religious teacher Shaikh Ahmad Khattu, and two others, Kazi Ahmad and Malik Ahmad.

At the outset, BJP is yet to find a neo-political face similar to the hardliner in Uttar Pradesh to lead the forthcoming Assembly elections in Gujarat. The BJP president in Gujarat Jitu Vaghani has confirmed that Adityanath had PM Modi will be the figures of the state election campaign.

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RSS to share sages’ wisdom on childbearing

The invitation letter to the Arogya Bharati workshop.


Arogya Bharati, the health and family welfare wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the city will host a workshop on how to have “a good child.”

The two-day workshop, titled ‘Garbha Sanskar and Dampati Samikshan’ (Reforms in childbearing and counselling of couples) will be held in early May at Ekal Bhawan, the south Kolkata office of the organisation, an Arogya Bharati invite sent on an instant messaging group, said. A ‘traditional childbearing and infertility expert’ from Jamnagar in Gujarat will participate in the workshop.

Speaking to The Hindu, Secretary of the Kolkata chapter of Arogya Bharati, Joyshree Rakshit said the initiative was aimed at “raising awareness in Bengal about the traditional wisdom of ancient Hindu sages on the ways of bearing an ideal and good child.”

“Everything is now controlled by the doctors in the big hospitals and thus people are suffering,” Ms Rakshit said.

However, a senior RSS official said the workshop was intended to “increase awareness about the demographic imbalance between the majority and minority community in Bengal.”

The workshop invite, with Arogya Bharati’s logo — the Swastika — compared childbearing to maintaining a garden. “Weeds can easily grow in a garden if [the garden] is not properly nurtured, but well-planned nurturing is required for growing beautiful flowers. Similarly proper planning and nurturing is required to bear a good child,” the invitation said.

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Pellets guns are not ‘non-lethal’. Their use on crowds is prohibited by international law


On 10 April, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi while arguing before the Chief Justice of India in the pellet gun case, asserted that there was no alternative to the use of pellets in the Valley as all other non-lethal weapons had proved ineffective.

He apparently presented photographs of Kashmir youth clambering over trucks carrying water-canons.

This was the third hearing of the Special Leave Petition submitted by the J&K Bar Association challenging the final judgment of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir of 21 September 2016, which dismissed the prayer for a prohibition on the use of pellet guns as a means of crowd control.

Rohatgi was responding to the court’s 27 March 2017 directive to submit a detailed reply on what alternate effective steps could be taken to deal with a situation of agitating mobs in Jammu and Kashmir.

On 14 December last year, the Supreme Court had said that pellet guns should not be used “indiscriminately” for controlling street protests in J&K and had asked the attorney general to submit a copy of the report of the expert committee constituted for exploring other alternatives to pellet guns.


Since 8 July 2016, Indian forces have used indiscriminate and excessive force in responding to widespread protests across the Valley. There has been repeated firing on protesters that has lead to the death of at least 120 and injuring more than 9,000 others.

And this list of casualties does not include injuries sustained by security forces during protests. In their efforts to quell the protests, security forces claim to have deployed “less than lethal” weapons. These included:

– Tear gas grenades

Pepper gas shells

– 12-gauge shotguns firing pellets

– Live ammunition.

Pellet guns belong to the category of Kinetic Impact Projectiles (KIPs). This category includes the type of weapon that cannot be aimed and spreads ammunition widely. In fact, the design of the shotguns used for firing the pellets fall in the lethal weapons category. The so-called pellet is technically known as No. 9 shot. This is what was being used against protesters in Kashmir during 2016.

These pellets cannot be classified as “less than lethal” as the No. 9 shot is made of a lead alloy. About 400 to 600 of these are loaded into each cartridge. When fired, the pellets/No. 9 shots are sprayed. This means that bystanders are inevitably subject to injuries imposed as they have a wide range, are inaccurate and incapable of actually hitting an intended target. The pellets do not have a predictable and definite trajectory.

We may recall that in 2010, more than 100 protesters, some of whom engaged in stone-pelting, were shot dead by security forces using live ammunition. After these deaths, the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi had set up an expert committee to recommend alternative methods of crowd control.

The committee had recommended the use of –

– Plastic bullets

– Wax bullets

– Rubber bullets

– Bean bag rounds,

– Ring Airfoil Projectiles (kinetic and tear gas)

– Electroshock weapons such as tasers

All things which are apparently less lethal than conventional metal bullets and are also propelled at lower speeds by using less propellant.

According to the Times of India report (15 November 2016), some of these ammunitions are available with Indian forces and police in J&K. The central paramilitary forces also have chilli and pepper-based bullets, grenades and recently introduced PAVA (Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide) shells.

The CRPF, however, claims that these have not been very successful on violent protesters and they continue to use pellet guns, which have led to severe eye injuries, often causing blindness and has drawn massive criticism.

As is clear, most of these recommendations were not implemented, and the police instead implemented the use of 12-gauge shotguns on protesters.


This measure not only failed to significantly reduce the numbers of dead, but it also increased the numbers of injured protesters and bystanders.


There are a number of international conventions, rules and guidelines which prohibit the use of any such weapon which is by nature indiscriminate and which can cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering.

Under the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (1990) the use of pellet guns can be deemed illegal as they contravene the principles of proportionality under international human rights law and the standards of customary international law reflected in UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offender.

The Principle says, “The development and deployment of non-lethal incapacitating weapons should be carefully evaluated in order to minimise the risk of endangering uninvolved persons, and the use of such weapons should be carefully controlled.”

It goes further to say that, “Governments shall ensure that arbitrary or abusive use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is punished as a criminal offence under their law.”

The Customary International Humanitarian Law which applies to war and war-like situations, whether inter-state or intra-state, in its Rule 14 clearly prohibits the state forces from launching any armed operation which “may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated, is prohibited.”

Rule 71 of the law clearly prohibits the use of weapons which are by nature indiscriminate.

It is pertinent to point out that the Indian Ordnance Factory Board – the producer of the ammunition – has conducted no testing on the safety of the 12-gauge shotguns and the ammunition, and it produces the weapons and ammunition with little regulatory oversight and accountability.

The weapons and tactics used by the Indian security forces in Kashmir also fail to meet international standards on proportionality in assessing the use of force against protesters. It seems that the forces have adopted the policy of injuring a maximum number of protestors as a way of discouraging them from further protests.


The use of firearms is considered an extreme measure. The law requires that every effort should be made to exclude the use of firearms, especially against children. In general, firearms should not be used except when a suspected offender offers armed resistance or otherwise jeopardises the lives of others and, in that situation, less extreme measures are not sufficient to restrain or apprehend the suspected offender.

Indian law requires that in every instance in which a firearm is discharged, a report should be made promptly to the competent authorities.

The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) on “dealing with public agitations with non-lethal measures” requires the police and security forces to give clear warning before firing on demonstrations, both with pellets and bullets.

However, all reports have indicated that the security forces have consistently failed to adhere to these.

During December 2016, every protester told this writer that security forces gave no warning before – as is required by the SOPs.

The global experience shows that use of force and particularly excessive force does not stop protests. Rather, it increases the intensity and motivates protesters to take up violent methods.

India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had cautioned the police force regarding handling crowds which are numerically stronger than them. He had said, “Of course you can frighten it by opening fire or ordering a lathi charge. But these are extreme steps. The reaction of a normal crowd would depend on whether it is tactfully or foolishly tackled.”

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Modi Government Approaches SC for Permission to Kill Innocent Citizens with Impunity #WTFnews

English: Indian Army Elite 9 Para Commandos

English: Indian Army Elite 9 Para Commandos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


By- Prabhakar Sinha

It may appear incredible but is true .


In 2016,t he Supreme Court  had decided to probe the killing of 1528 persons killed in alleged fake encounter  in Manipur by the armed forces and the Manipur police . A bench headed by  Madan B. Lokur had observed that ‘democracy would be in a grave danger ‘ if armed forces were permitted to kill citizens on mere allegation or suspicion that they were enemies of the state .Underlining that ‘no absolute immunity ‘would be given to the armed forces personnel if any death was found to be ‘ unjustified ‘,the court had held that ‘ use of excessive force or retaliatory force by the Manipur police or the armed forces of the union was not permissible and all such instances must be investigated .The court had rejected the contention of the government that a war-like situation existed in Manipur and an inquiry may ‘demoralise the armed forces and may help the insurgents

Now, the Union Government has approached the Supreme Court to recall the order on the ground that the judgment has ‘hampered the Indian Army‘s ability to respond to the insurgents and terrorists situations .’
The Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has filed a curative petition and wants it to be heard urgently in the name of national security.
It is shocking that in a democracy with the claim of its being under the rule of law , the government is asking the apex court to recall its order with the aim of giving a free hand to the police and security forces to kill innocent citizens in the name of national security.There may be a situation in the areas under insurgency in which a few innocent citizens may get INADVERTENTLY killed , but for a government to approach the Supreme Court to abdicate  its duty of protecting the life and personal liberty of citizens (under Art.32 ) is the ultimate in  shamelessness  and  dispensing with the rule of law .
When Indira goverment claimed the right to kill, detain or torture a citizen  during the emergency ,she , at least , had the excuse (though very lame ) of arguing that the right to life and personal liberty under Art.21 was  suspended during the emergency ,and consequently ,courts could not come to protect  rights which did not exist .Modi government is asking the apex court to become an accomplish in killing innocent citizens in fake encounters by sanctioning it .
The audacity of the Modi  government is far more dangerous than Indira Gandhi‘s call for a committed judiciary , as she fought the judiciary through constutional amendments  but did not invite it for an unholy  co-habitation.
The fascist fang of Modi is out , and it can be overlooked only if we are seized with a collective death wish .

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