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Wednesday, November 25


The Hi-Tech Crime Enquiry Cell of Kerala Police rattled some modest cages the other day when they nabbed a couple of youngsters for allegedly 'defaming' Kerala CPM Secretary Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan.


Apparently, there was an email circulating on internet with the photograph of a palatial house allegedly owned by the Communist maestro. The owner of the house was actually a television serial producer based in the Middle East and the picture found its way to the internet through a popular social networking site.
Some adventurous ill-witted souls thought it would be a good idea to insult the leader by spreading the image with a tag "house of a humble communist leader."

This is what the Police has to say about all these:  Expressbuzz Newslink

Curious enough the Police has now arrested two individuals who are at the distal end of a chain. They did not take the photograph, neither did they upload it to the web nor create/edit the slanderous email. All they did was to forward the email they received to a few of their contacts without checking the source or validity of the mail content. According to the Cyber Police this is the heinous crime, serious enough to have their names and photos aired on channels and newspapers, akin to any notorious evildoer.

Well, its a hot trail for the Hi-Tech cops because the plaintiff is none other than Pinarayi Vijayan, the supremo of the party which rules Kerala.  The asses moved briskly and we have the 'criminals' in one week flat! It was almost as if the Cyber Cops were acting on a deadline but where are the originators of the scam?

The Hi-Tech Police states that it is a crime according to Article 66 A of the Information Technology Act (Amended in October 2006); screen-shot below:


The law states that propagating "any content which he knows to be false" or in other words any content which we don't know if true could land people in hot water. It is upto the person who forwards the communication, to verify the authenticity of the information he is spreading. Leaves a good few ambiguous patches in this case especially when you read it along with the clause under which one of the accused (denoted "A") has been arrested.

Excerpts from the above newslink

It is reliably learnt that (A) had not added any comments to the email. The police arrested him as he did not respond to a notice sent by the police to his email address. (A) told the police that he had not noticed the mail as it might have landed among Spam Mails.

Laws are formulated for the betterment of the society but why do I feel that there has been a gross injustice in this case? Every law can be interpreted or twisted according to the smartness of your advocate but is it just me who feels that the Hi-Tech cell has turned up a blind alley here? The architects of the hoax are still at large and the Police has exhibited two unfortunate pawns just to satiate their masters.

At this juncture it would be appropriate to look back at the authenticity of many gossips and news broadcast via our channels and print media, which we all quote and disperse through the social network sites. How many cock and bull tales have we swallowed, which arouse from the sheer imaginative power of the journos these media houses employ to propagate their vendetta? I don't remember any journalist reprimanded for deliberate false reporting.

Meanwhile, can owning a decent house tarnish the figure of a Communist leader? Or did Pinarayi think that the house in the frame was too shabby for his liking? Or may be he wanted to put up a strong notice to his adversaries in the cyberworld...

I saw the house at the center of the controversy. It looked like a show house of a newly prosperous gold merchant in Trichur town but it would be curious to see how bigger/smaller Mr.Vijayan's house in Pinarayi will be when compared to it. Whatever, one will have to imagine that it will be rub shoulders with the NRI Producer's Kunnamkulam bungalow, when you think that Pinarayi could afford to send his kids to private professional colleges and to foreign Universities.

It is indeed an offense to abuse, threaten or defame individuals through any media, let alone a head honcho of a party-in-power. Those responsible should be brought to light. And this will also put an end to some of the ongoing wild and woolly practices in cyber-space where things were always taken for granted.

But how 'bout the scope of this defamation law? Pinarayi can publicly address a Roman Catholic Bishop a "wretched creature" and a "liar", and how close does it come to personal abuse? How eloquent has his co-comrade Minister G. Sudhakaran's tongue been when speaking publicly in front of the media? Here is a small sample of what stuff our Devaswom Minister is capable of spewing out.


Where have the laws been in the above cases? And why does it bend when approaching a certain breed of individuals? I thought the law breaks if it bends...

The youngsters who forwarded the email may or may not have had malicious intentions. But thanks to Sir Pinarayi and the doozy Cyber Cell, we the people, are aware of the law, at the cost of two scapegoats who just did the crime of clicking the "Forward" button.

image courtesy, yakuto

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