18 July, 2006


Thousands of blogs are blocked in India.
Last week, CERT-IN* (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team ) sent a list of 22 websties and blogs to be blocked to all ISPs following apprehensions by the country's intelligence agencies that these were likely being used by terrorists to communicate with one another. The move may be related to the bomb blasts in trains in Mumbai earlier this month which killed about 190 people and injured around 700. There are about 150 ISPs in India. Although the communication from the DOT to ISPs lists specific pages and Web sites, several ISPs have blocked some key blogs altogether because they were not equipped to filter specific pages.

Access to all blogs and websites hosted on the following servers is currently blocked:
Spectranet, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), Reliance Powersurfer, Airtel Broadband and Sify have blocked Blogger.

Whoever has done that for any reason, its effect is that thousands of blogs have been blocked. Clearly this is violation of Right to Freedom of Expression guaranteed by the Constitution of India as a Fundamental Right under Article 19(1)(a) which says

19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.—(1) All citizens shall have the right—
(a) to freedom of speech and expression;

(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) to form associations or unions;
(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;
(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
* * * * *
(g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

This right is subject only to reasonable restrictions imposed by the Govt. in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

The ISPs are clearly violating this provision of the constitution by arbitrarily blocking all the blogs.

Tricks to access blocked sites:

1. http://www.proxify.com
2. http://censorship.wikia.com/wiki/Bypassing_The_Ban

*CERT-IN: Under the Information Technology Act, 2000, the Indian government set up the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) in 2003 with the authority to block Web sites. Any government department seeking a block on any web site has to approach CERT-IN, which then instructs the DoT to block the site after confirming the authenticity of the complaint. On receiving instructions from CERT-IN, DOT - which has regulatory control over the ISPs - has to ensure that the Web sites are blocked, and inform CERT-IN accordingly.

13 July, 2006

Salam Bombay!

Photo: Reuters

Readers' Digest has branded Mumbai as a rude city based on a survey.

What if they don't say 'please' and 'Thank you'? They are Indians and they know how to stand united in the hour of crisis. They also know how to defeat the sinister designs of the militants when they try to terrorise Mumbaikars. They show the world what Indians are!

Reports in today's The Hindu say:

When the seven serial blasts occurred, people hearing the noise, came streaming out of the houses on both sides of the track to help the injured, hundreds of young men from Naupada plunged into rescue operations, initially marked by the complete absence of the police or railway officials. Even stretchers were not available to take the injured or the dead. People pulled out the padded seats in the first class compartment and used them to carry away people to the nearest platform.

All these young men belonging to a voluntary organisation called Al-Hind Ekta Society, rushed to rescue the numerous injured from first class compartment. The police came much later and they were not willing to touch the bodies. It was people like them who provided all the immediate rescue measures.

The injured and the dead were bundled in bed sheets and on makeshift stretchers.The Society members collected all mobiles and wallets and gave these to the nearest police station so that these could be returned.

A videofootage aired on private TV channels clearly shows how the local people helped in the rescue and that they were the only ones present. They took people in rickshaws to Bhabha hospital and it was their timely help that ensured that more people did not die.

People ferried the victims home till late night. It is very clear that if they did not help, those people would have stayed on the tracks for a long time.

Select opinions:

If instilling fear in the minds of Mumbaikars was the objective of those responsible for Mumbai's serial blasts on Tuesday, let history be evidence that the cowards cannot succeed. We stood beside one another during the riots and floods and we stand beside one another today too. I am far away from home right now but my spirit is attached to the heartbeat of my city. Only in India can an entire city transform into a million-member family within minutes. There is no need for a `please.' There is no need for a `thank you.' Love is unconditional when it involves a Mumbaikar.
-Priyanka Agarwal, Evanston, Illinois

It is the never say die spirit of Mumbaikars that brings the city back to normality every time there is an adversity. It was a great sight to see people helping one another. Mumbai is certainly not a rude city — never mind if the men do not open the door for women or don't say `thanks' and `please.'
-Farazana Nigar, Nagpur, Maharashtra

The Mumbaikars deserve to be commended for their resilience. They are a source of national pride and a sterling example of how ordinary people can defeat terrorist designs. By carrying on with their lives, they are cocking a snook at the terrorists. Those responsible for the attacks should be ashamed of themselves.
-S. Srinivas, Visakhapatnam, A.P.

The city has fought back by getting back to work in a day. Our salaam to the financial metro.
-M. Ramdas, Chennai

Whoever is responsible for the blasts will surely feel disappointed because Mumbaikars know how to bounce back after bomb blasts and natural calamities.
-Sayed Farhaan Haidar, New Delhi

Mumbai, devastated by rains and bomb blasts, has risen to the occasion yet again. While we condemn the serial blasts, we feel proud of the Mumbaikars who, setting aside differences and disproving the Readers Digest's rude city brand, have stood together in an adverse situation. Let nobody judge a city by a few commonplace events.
-R. Karpagam, Coimbatore

Immediately after disaster struck, as is their wont, the people came to the rescue of the injured. They gave food and shelter to the sick and injured, and served bottled water, tea and coffee to the stranded. Hats off to Mumbaikars!
-Murali Jagannathan, Bangalore

As usual it was the common man who came to the rescue of the victims, much before the administrators did. Be it in helping the injured, offering lifts, food, regulating traffic or passing information, the rest of India has a lot to learn from the people of Mumbai. That Mumbai has carried on with life needs to be appreciated. It is now up to the politicians to ensure that this calm is not disturbed.
-Ashwanth Gnanavelu, Chennai