Communciation between Save Indian Democracy and Election Commission of India

Communication between Satya Dosapati of Save Indian Democracy and Election Commission of India

<< THESE  ARE LETTERS TO MR. QURAISHI THAT WERE LATER SEND AS PRESS RELEASES TO ALL INDIAN MEDIA>>

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Politics/Elections

Contact:     Satya Dosapati
Email:         SaveIndianDemocracy.Org@gmail.com

Web:           http://IndianEVM.com

Ph:              +1 732 723 8332

Arrest of Mr. Hari Prasad on EVM Issue:  Detailed communication between Save Indian Democracy and Election Commission of India

New Jersey: Aug 23, 2010: Given below is the communication between ECI and Save Indian Democracy from Aug 21st to current on the issue of arrest of  Mr. Hari Prasad by Election Commission of India

LETTER WRITTEN BY SAVE INDIAN DEMOCRACY TO ALL ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA (ECI) COMMISSIONERS AND DEPUTY COMMISSIONERS ON SATURDAY AUG 21st , 2:23 AM (EST)
— Original Message —

From: Save Indian Democracy saveindiandemocracy.org@gmail.com
To: syquraishi@eci.nic.in, vssampath vs.sampath@eci.gov.in,syq2@rediffmail.com,
navinchawla@eci.gov.in
Cc: eedback@eci.gov.injaipriye@eci.gov.inbalakrish@eci.gov.in,dralokshukla@eci.gov.in,
akshayrout@eci.gov.invinodzutshi@eci.gov.inashishs@eci.gov.in,yashvir@eci.gov.in,
tkumar@eci.gov.inkakumar@eci.gov.inrksrivastava@eci.gov.in,kfwilfred@eci.gov.in,
mendiratta.sk@eci.gov.inystandhope@eci.gov.inskrudola@eci.gov.in,varinderkr@eci.gov.in,
knbhar@eci.gov.inanuj@eci.gov.inelectiontransparencyworldwide@googlegroups.com,
ashish@eci.gov.insrkar@eci.gov.insureshchand@eci.gov.in
Subject: Mr. Quraishi, arrest of Hari Prasad on charges of stealing EVMs is uncalled for

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Save Indian Democracy <saveindiandemocracy.org@gmail.com>
To: syquraishi@eci.nic.in, vssampath <vs.sampath@eci.gov.in>,syq2@rediffmail.comnavinchawla@eci.gov.in

Date:
Subject: Mr. Quraishi, arrest of Hari Prasad on charges of stealing EVMs is uncalled for

Dear Mr. Quraishi,

Save Indian Democracy with great efforts brought the best international experts recently to India who worked with Mr. Hari Prasad to expose the vulnerabilities of Indian EVMs.   As you know, the efforts of Mr. Hari Prasad was to educate Indian public and the path taken was only to work around the unrealistic and dishonest restrictions imposed by ECI in demonstrating the vulnerabilities of EVMs.

In this effort,  Mr. Hari Prasad has nothing other than the best interests of the country.    You should note that the same Mr. Hari Prasad have not entertained a single offer for tampering by politicians as far as North East India with offer of attractive sums.    It will be a matter of shame and travesty of justice for Election Commission of India instead of appreciating the acts of such heroes, your office stoop to intimidating and punishing them.  It is a disgrace that the ECI that is arresting and intimidating the activist who has only best interest of the nation at heart,  has done little about those who are approaching Net India that Mr. Hari leads to tamper them for a price in real elections.

The act which Mr. Hari Prasad did was also done by activists in US and Europe and they are respected for it.   For e.g, Dr. Alex Halderman who worked with Mr. Hari Prasad in hacking India’s EVM has also hacked a EVM used in US elections and he was employed by State of California Secretary of State to expose the vulnerabilities of the EVM’s used in California.  If any,  ECI could use services of Mr. Hari Prasad to better serve the nation.

During the Usenix conference Mr. Alok Shukla was told by international community that the way to resolve this is not by use of threats but by amicable discussions held with honesty.  Instead of heeding such advice, you decided to pursue a path that  will only enhance the resolve of international community by many factors to show the tamperability and lack of transparency of Indian EVMs across international conferences/discussions and expose the shameful threats used by Election Commission of India to suppress the truth because of the fear of the exposure.   It will only lead the international community to communicate to Election Watch bodies and Human Rights Commissions that Indian elections are a farce and the use of threats to suppress is the best proof that Election Commission of India has something to hide.  Indian Elections and the venerable Election Commission of India will soon become a laughing stock of the world.

I request you sir, to rethink the path chosen and restore the dignity of highly respected institution you are leading.  We understand bureaucracy in India is under pressures that are not usually patent to those outside,  but by standing up for what is right you will be remembered in history.  There are many in dustbin of history of India that are bringing down a great nation with enormous potential,  but I request you to stand apart and do the right thing.

Sincerely,

Satya Dosapati for Save Indian Democracy


Regards

Alok ShuklaFORWARDING OF THE ABOVE LETTER FROM SAVE INDIAN DEMOCRACY BY DR. SY QURESHI, CHIEF ELECTION COMMISSIONER TO MR. ALOK SHUKLA, DEPUTY ELECTION COMMISSIONER  (FOR RESPONDING)

——— Forwarded message ———-
From: SYQuraishi <syq2@rediffmail.com>
Date: 21 August 2010 01:07
Subject: Fw: Mr. Quraishi, arrest of Hari Prasad on charges of stealing EVMs is uncalled for
To: dr.alokshukla@gmail.com

Note: Forwarded message attached

RESPONSE RECEIVED FROM MR. ALOK SHUKLA (ECI) TO SAVE INDIAN DEMOCRACY ON SUNDAY AUG 22, 2010, 7:44 AM (EST)

——— Forwarded message ———-
From: Dr Alok Shukla <dralokshukla@eci.gov.in>
Date: Sun, Aug 22, 2010 at 7:44 AM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Fw: Mr. Quraishi, arrest of Hari Prasad on charges of stealing EVMs is uncalled for
To: saveindiandemocracy.org@gmail.com

Cc: syquraishi@eci.nic.in, “V.S. Sampath” <vs.sampath@eci.gov.in>, syq2@rediffmail.com, feedback <feedback@eci.gov.in>, Jai Priye <jaipriye@eci.gov.in>, Balakrishnan <balakrish@eci.gov.in>, Dr Alok Shukla <dralokshukla@eci.gov.in>

To

Mr. Satya Dosapati

Sub: –               Investigation by Maharashtra Police in the matter of a missing EVM.

Ref: –                Your email dated 21st August 2010 addressed to the Chief Election Commissioner, and your telephone call to Deputy Election Commissioner, Dr. Alok Shukla and Director General, Mr. Akshay Rout.

Dear Mr. Dosapati,

Please refer to your email and telephonic conversation as cited above.

I am surprised at the allegation made in your letter that Shri Hariprasad has been got arrested by the Election Commission. This allegation is patently false. The arrest made by the police is in the course of an investigation conducted by them on an FIR lodged by DEO Mumbai as early as 12th May 2010 about an EVM stolen from her custody. The Commission cannot interfere in criminal investigation of the police in any manner and the law of the land takes its own course. You would recall that when the issue of the possible arrest of Shri Hariprasad on the FIR of the DEO, Mumbai was raised in the EVT-WOTE Conference at Washington DC on 9th August, 2010, I had made it clear even at that time that once an FIR has been registered, the Commission has no role in the investigation.  You would also recall that I had reiterated this position during the telephonic conversation with you on 21st August 2010, referred to above. Mr. Rout, Director General, had also done the same.

As far as improvements in the voting system are concerned, the Commission has always had an open mind, and has had discussions with several persons on these matters including Mr. Hariprasad. Mr. Hariprasad has met the Commission on several occasions. He came with Mr. V.V.Rao, on 17th August 2009 and again on 3rd September, 2009. The Commission has given Mr. Hariprasad a patient hearing, and has assured him that the Commission will consider his suggestions. At his request, EVMs were allowed to be examined by him, in the Commission Headquarters. Mr. Hariprasad met the Commission once again on 10th August 2010, with his other colleagues. This meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere where the Commission categorically stated that it has an open mind in the matter and looks forward in receiving any suggestions for improving the electoral system. Reciprocating to this Mr.Hariprasad and his colleagues said that that they will come up with some positive suggestions. It was mutually agreed that this dialogue will continue in future, and that Mr. Hariprasad and his colleagues will meet the Commission again with more suggestions on a mutually convenient date.

In your mail, you have made several other baseless and irresponsible allegations and also cast aspersions on the working of the Election Commission and its officials. These do not merit any response other than dismissal considering the fact that Indian elections are totally free, fair and credible and acknowledged as such worldwide. Your allegations only betray your lack of knowledge of the Indian Constitution under which the Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional body completely insulated from any pressures.

(Alok Shukla)

Deputy Election Commissioner

FIRST  RESPONSE  BY SAVE INDIAN DEMOCRACY TO THE ABOVE LETTER FROM ALOK SHUKLA (ECI) ON SUNDAY AUG 22,  8:31 AM

——— Forwarded message ———-
From: Save Indian Democracy <saveindiandemocracy.org@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Aug 22, 2010 at 8:31 AM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Fw: Mr. Quraishi, arrest of Hari Prasad on charges of stealing EVMs is uncalled for
To: Dr Alok Shukla <dralokshukla@eci.gov.in>
Cc: syquraishi@eci.nic.in, “V.S. Sampath” <vs.sampath@eci.gov.in>, syq2@rediffmail.com, feedback <feedback@eci.gov.in>, Jai Priye <jaipriye@eci.gov.in>, Balakrishnan <balakrish@eci.gov.in>

Dear Mr. Shukla,

Thank you for your response on behalf of ECI.   I appreciate your comments and if I in any way cast aspersions on the workings of election commission I would stand corrected.  We are here to partner with you in making India’s democracy better.

Given the factors below:

1) That the FIR is lodged by DEO is an official of Election Commission
2) Hari Prasad has been working with ECI for several months now and Hari Prasad intention for hacking was very patent
3) What Hari Prasad has done was also done in other developed democracies without any FIR’s lodged in spite of their laws of land in such cases are very similar or perhaps even stricter
4) Hari Prasad has not done anything to manipulate elections and in fact should be commended from distancing himself from such attempts with lure of large sums by unscrupulous politicians

5) That the manifestations of Hariprasad arrest due to FIR lodged by DEO will reverberate in many aspects that will bring down the reputation enjoyed by ECI

I request the ECI to immediately issue directives to DEO to withdraw the FIR and continue to engage in dialogue with Hari and the other activists.

Regards,
Satya for Save Indian Democracy

SECOND  RESPONSE  BY SAVE INDIAN DEMOCRACY TO THE LETTER FROM ALOK SHUKLA (ECI) ON SUNDAY,  AUG 22, 9:35 PM

—– Original Message —–
From: Save Indian Democracy <saveindiandemocracy.org@gmail.com>
Date: Sunday, August 22, 2010 9:35 pm
Subject: Re: Fwd: Fw: Mr. Quraishi, arrest of Hari Prasad on charges of stealing EVMs is uncalled for (additional point)
To: Dr Alok Shukla   <dralokshukla@eci.gov.in>
Cc: syquraishi@eci.nic.in, “V.S. Sampath  ” <vs.sampath@eci.gov.in>, syq2@rediffmail.com, feedback   <feedback@eci.gov.in>, Jai Priye   <jaipriye@eci.gov.in>, Balakrishnan   <balakrish@eci.gov.in>

Dear Mr. Shukla,

Further clarification to my earlier email with regards to involvement of ECI in arrest of Mr. Hari Prasad.

A DEO though a District collector, on matters concerning elections takes instructions from ECI.  We have information that the probe has been initiated and pursued at the instance of the ECI.  Therefore what the DEO has done or has been doing is at the ECI’s behest. ECI can issue directives to DEO to withdraw the FIR.

We request you again not to turn this issue a boiling issue internationally across Academic bodies, Election Watch bodies,  Human Rights Commissions, United Nations, Indian Consular offices,  other Countries particularly where ECIL/BEL are selling EVMs as well as nationally, that will without doubt tarnish the image of the ECI and put the whole Indian democracy into question.    We need to work together to make India a better democracy just as many activists have done in US and several European countries.

Below are additional points put forth by a Law Professor on this issue.

Firstly, in fact the EVM supposed have been stolen was made available by a local official for research purposes.

Secondly, the intention behind is not to steal it from the owners of it for appropriation, which is obvious and open to all public and officials. In a crime basic requirement is intention. As there is no stealth lifting of EVM and that can never be transformed into a viable charge. Criminality must be rooted in malice, to fulfill the requirement of mens rea (the guilty mind) in addition to actus reus (forbidden act).

Thirdly, if EVM is stolen during elections on poling day, it could be considered for obstruction of poll which is an electoral offence. That is not the case here.

Fourthly, a very important factor that is ignored by Maharasthra police is the mandate of the Supreme Court. The petitioners VV Rao and other sought direction of the apex court to ECI and EVM makers to rule out the doubts raised by the petitioners. The petitioners were given an opportunity to demonstrate before election commission the vulnerability of EVMs to fall prey for manipulations, and in turn it was also for the ECI to prove how it could not be manipulated. When the petitioners were implementing the direction of the order of the Supreme Court how can those public interested persons become criminals?

Fifthly, the union cabinet has recently approved the protection of whistle blowers bill to be passed into legislation. This arrest is purposefully made to silence any person from raising any doubt about the frauds sponsored officially through such activities.

Sixthly, Mr. Hari Prasad or Mr. V Venkateswar Rao is not a thief and their social service and they are heading non-governmental organizations propagating better governance and right to information.

Seventhly, the makers of EVM first raised the IPR objections to somehow stop the examination of EVMs for their non-tamperability or vulnerability, saying that they had patent for the product. Even a person with ordinary and common sense will not raise this objection. Patent means laying everything open. The information and specifications about the innovation that is patented must be open and it should be available in public domain. In return to that openness of information, the state on behalf of society guarantees the exclusive economic benefits from the industrial application of that innovated product or tool. Who is stopping the EVM makers from having exclusive economic benefits from these great machines? And if one piece is opened and examined, there is nothing illegal about it and it is perfectly a legal requirement. Any other person can rip any innovative product open, and research to develop something better than that to secure a new patent over it. This is the national and international law. It is absurd that people raise such contentions against a public spirited and perfectly constitutional activity.

Finally, All this shows that the Election Commission of India is hesitating to take the challenge and thus indirectly confirming the suspicions raised by the V V Rao and Hari Prasad. All democratic forces should condemn the arrest and eminent lawyers to help them in getting bail and quashing the charge, and ending this most unreasonable and undemocratic reaction of Government of India along with ECI and Maharastra Police.

Regards,
Satya for Save Indian Demcocracy

RESPONSE FROM ALOK SHUKLA TO SAVE INDIAN DEMOCRACY TO THE ABOVE TWO RESPONSES ON MONDAY AUG 23, 2010 AT 7:23 AM

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Dr Alok Shukla <dralokshukla@eci.gov.in>
Date: Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 7:23 AM
Subject: Investigation by Maharashtra Police in the matter of a missing EVM.
To: Save Indian Democracy <saveindiandemocracy.org@gmail.com>

To

Mr. Satya Dosapati

Subject: Investigation by Maharashtra Police in the matter of a missing EVM

Ref: 1. Your e-mail dated 21st August 2010 addressed to Chief Election Commissioner

2. My e-mail dated 22nd August 2010 addressed to you.

3. Your e-mail dated 22nd August 2010 addressed to me.

Dear Mr. Dosapati,

The correct constitutional and legal position in regard to the arrest of Mr. Hariprasad has been

explianed to you in my e-mail referred to above.

(Alok Shukla)

Deputy Election Commissioner

For additional information contact Satya Dosapati, at +1 732 723 8332.

#####

SECOND LETTER FROM  SAVE INDIAN DEMOCRACY TO CHIEF ELECTION COMMISSIONER MR. QURAISHI ON AUG 26TH REQUESTING TO WITHDRAW CASE AGAINST HARI PRASAD

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Save Indian Democracy <saveindiandemocracy.org@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 9:54 AM
Subject: Press Release on EVMs: Letter to Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Quraishi to withdraw the case against Mr. Hari Prasad and call for an honest debate between ECI and experts
To: Save Indian Democracy <saveindiandemocracy.org@gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Politics/Elections

Contact:     Satya Dosapati
Email:         SaveIndianDemocracy.Org@gmail.com

Web:           http://IndianEVM.com (also http://SaveIndianDemocracy.org)

Ph:              +1 732 939 2060

Activists urge Chief Election Commissioner to withdraw unjustified case against Mr. Hari Prasad and call for an honest debate between ECI and experts
New Jersey, Aug 26, 2010: The following letter was send by Save Indian Democracy to Chief Election Commissioner Mr. Quraishi and other commissioners to withdraw the unjustified case against Mr. Hari Prasad and call for an honest debate between ECI and experts for the sake of preserving India’s democracy.
=======
Dear Mr. Quraishi, 

On behalf of activists and citizens both in India and worldwide, I request you to give directives to DEO to immediately withdraw the case against Mr. Hari Prasad.   This will at least stop the further drain of prestige of a venerable institution you are leading.  I hope your office is aware of the loss of prestige from the blogs, news articles worldwide from US, Canada and Europe  (http://indianevm.com/news.php ).
As the news about treatment of Mr. Hari Prasad including placing him in a dark cell on one day and was removed from there only after he reported health issues,  we were aghast at what low level this has gone to.    This raises questions whether Indians have freedom or are we still under imperialistic British Raj?    Are the bureaucrats (and politicians) the Public servants or is it the Public that are servants of the bureaucracy (and politicians)?   This reminds of Gandhi ji assertion that a freedom that replaces white babus with brown babus is no freedom.  This whole episode shows Indians promised freedoms has yet to come.
I think the situation in India is  best summarized by someone who had been close to India sometime who said that, “Only in India one can find where politicians wear clothes like simple folks (khadi etc) as advised by their father of nation, but in all probability he is either  highly corrupt individual and/or a criminal, only in India has the media perfected when a lie is told enough number of times, it becomes the truth,  only in India one can see bureaucrats who will speak a white lie as if he is speaking an incontrovertible truth and swear as if he is ready to give his life if proven wrong”.
In the NDTV interview, Mr S.K. Mendiratta asked why do we have to go outside India to evaluate our EVMs, are we not proud of our people?  Sir, Hari Prasad is from India running a Software company in India who evaluated the EVM using a borrowed EVM for the benefit of the country and please reflect on how ECI is treating him.  (Note that unlike US,  Indian academic institutions has done little research on this issue).
I understand in CNN-IBN interview ex-CEC Mr. Krishna Murthy questioned about motives of the foreign experts who have assisted in the matter.   This is totally uncalled for and it is like biting the very hand that feeds you.   As someone who was actively involved in identifying and bringing in the experts on behalf of Save Indian Democracy, I can tell you that in spite of their initial reluctance to join the conference held by Dr. Subramanian Swamy (which was attended by ex-CEC Mr. Gopalaswami) at Chennai in Feb 2010,  it is the argument that this is a human rights issue and having proven in their own countries,  their contributions will be valuable in India of 1.2 billion people,  that finally motivated them to visit India.  They had to use their vacation to attend events in India. Reputable Prof David Dill of Stanford who is considered a pioneer in election reform in US, provided guidance and suggestions.    I hope we are sensitive to that and not make statements that will drag the reputation of ECI seriously beyond what is already happening.
I also request that ECI be honest in admitting the shortcomings and work with the activists to make Indian democracy better.  Here are some disturbing assertions/events that need to be addressed:
1) The repeated lie that ECI offered to activists for tampering has to be stopped.   It was offered with unrealistic conditions that one can tamper only without opening the EVM.  Those who tamper do not abide by such conditions.   Those who are making such assertions are making a fool of themselves since the world over knows that.
2) The DEO in his complaint wrote that,  ‘As the actions of Hari Prasad have far reaching consequences you may please investigate whether there is any vested interests involved here, with ulterior motives to discredit the established system in the country?’    It is far stretching to say that DEO made this statement on her own without pressure from the top.  What established system is being referred here?   What is important, the system or democracy?  Netherlands had established EVM system  (100%, at every local and central level) for more than two decades and today it is ZERO, none.   US and several European countries has stopped or shelved the idea of stand alone EVMs with more than 60% of US going to paper record or ban EVMs completely.  Yes, all these changed from established systems in their countries due to activism of dedicated citizens.   Are those countries targeting their activists with allegations that they are discrediting their established systems?  On the other hand their institutions respect them.
3)  We understand that ECI did not just stop in ordering a complaint against Mr. Hari Prasad.  It also unleashed full force at its command as is evident from the fact that more than a dozen senior police officers of the rank of DSP and above were involved in strategising and effecting Mr. Hari Prasad’s arrest as if he is a dreader gangster.  Sources in the police confirmed that the arrest was a result of severe pressure from ECI through Governmental authorities.    As this news being spread, will there be any respect or trust for this institution?
4) According to ECI own response, several dozen EVMs were stolen in the past but never such drastic action was taken.   The EVMs are in the custody of DEO and if it went missing should not the DEO who should be held responsible.  It is shocking that ECI has not taken any action against its own custodians but has zealously pursued FIRs against researchers who merely used them for research purposes.   There are many whistle blowers and EVM hackers in US and other Western nations and has there been any such vendetta against them.
5) Until TV9 demonstration, ECI had no idea that voting machine was missing.  Even after telecast, it took nearly two weeks of ECI to establish that it belonged to Mumbai.  Does this not show the shocking reality of the much trumpeted talk of ECI that ECI has excellent safeguards.    If this is state of affairs in India’s largest metropolitan city, how safe are EVMs in far flung areas.  Even if people carried them away by dozens, it would have gone unnoticed because the ECI has no proper records or inventory of EVMs.  Only recently ECI issued guidelines after the demonstration by Mr. Hari Prasad and team exposing the weakness. ECI need to admit this already known fact to save its honor.
In the end, we request you to withdraw the case against Mr. Hari Prasad and organize a national debate on this issue with experts from both India and worldwide.
Regards,
Satya Dosapati for Save Indian Democracy
==============
For additional information contact Satya at SaveIndianDemocracy.org@gmail.com or at +1 732 939 2060

########

Further communication with ECI on the conspiracy charges on Aug 31, 2010

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Save Indian Democracy <saveindiandemocracy.org1@gmail.com>

Date: Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 1:15 AM
Subject: Press Release on EVM: Save Indian Democracy responds to conspiracy theories
To: saveindiandemocracy.org@gmail.com 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Politics/Elections

Contact:     Satya Dosapati
Email:         SaveIndianDemocracy.Org@gmail.com

Web:           http://IndianEVM.com (also http://SaveIndianDemocracy.org)

Ph:              +1 732 723 8832

Save Indian Democracy response to allegations of conspiracy to discredit Indian Election Process or a plot of corporate rivals to steal market for Indian EVMs in Africa and South America.

New Jersey, Aug 31, 2010: According to news reports,  Indian Government has set into motion its intelligence agencies, both IB and R&AW to check backgrounds of Hari Prasad and his foreign contacts with suspicion that there is a large conspiracy to discredit India’s election process or to steal market for Indian EVM’s in Africa and South America by making a clone of the EVMs.

The contrast cannot be more ironic.  While India’s establishment chose to arrest Hari Prasad on charges of stealing EVM, borrowed for short period for research purposes, the world’s most leading conference,  ACM Conference on Computer and Communications security to be held at Chicago, USA on Oct 4-8th  has selected the result of his work with well known computer security experts Dr. Alex Halderman and Rop Gongrijjp as the top most paper (Number 1) for presentation at the conference.   Is India’s establishment out of touch?   All indications are it is.

Today’s India’s election process is not discredited by the work of activists, but by the ECI which by its continuous denial and stone walling any honest discussion on EVMs that capped with arrest of researcher who simply showed the tamperability using a borrowed EVM for the benefit of its citizens.  The treatment of a researcher with best intentions is unheard of in any developed country and worldwide it raised suspicion of the reasons for the ECI conduct.

With regards to some foreign corporate rivals stealing business by making clones of the EVMs,  the technology used is so basic to merit even to consider stealing. EVM manufacturers ECIL and BEL as well as ECI have themselves many times claimed that Indian EVM is a simple calculator.    After making 21 claims for patent to  World Intellectual Property Organization (International Patent body) ECIL has to withdraw its request for patent since the international body did not find any merit to award a patent.  (See http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?WO=2002093503&IA=IN2002000011&DISPLAY=DOCS ).   It may not be far stretching to say that the EVM could be done as a graduate student project.   To make such claims will be inviting ridicule.

The arrest of Mr. Hari Prasad brought the whole EVM issue to national focus.  The manner it was done has shocked the general public and worldwide technologists in particular  and raises uncomfortable questions over the ECI role in the issue and its standing as an autonomous body.  India’s Intelligence agencies energy is best spend in answering the following questions about EVM for the sake of country’s democracy that are well articulated by GVL Narasimha Rao in his blog http://IndianEVM.com.

a) Why have two foreign companies been involved by the BEL and ECIL in fusing the EVM software into microchips as it involves huge security risk for Indian elections when the same process could have been done securely within these companies premises?

b) Why has the “secret” software in the EVMs not been given even to the ECI?  Do the ECIL and BEL suspect the integrity of the ECI or its experts?

c) Why is the ECI so considerate about commercial interest of the BEL and ECIL when it should be guided by only the interests of the Indian public in ensuring free and fair elections?   In this regards, how did the ECI concede the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) over the EVMs to their manufacturers?   How is it possible that the companies that have developed the EVMs at the behest of the ECI and as per its requirements have unfettered rights over them?

d) By surrendering all the functions involving the manufacturing, checking and maintaining the EVMs to the same Public sector undertakings (PSU’s), isn’t the ECI running the risk of manipulation of elections by insiders in these companies?  Why were checks and balances not considered by involving some other governmental agencies like the NIC in checking of EVM’s in the field?

e) Why did the ECI scrap the “authentication unit” project after it was developed, tested and proved to be successful?  The authentication unit is a device that helps in ascertaining whether the software in the EVM is the original or has been replaced by a fake one to commit election fraud.

Mr. Hari Prasad’s arrest raises more questions about the motives of ECI:

f) How come the ECI and its district level officials did not know that an EVM was missing from its godowns for more than two months until a video recording of the machine was shown on a TV Station?

g) How is it that the ECI arrested Hari Prasad for having merely used an EVM made available to him for demonstration for a very brief period when it has let its own officers-in-charge of security of EVMs go scot-free?

It is time the Indian establishment recognize its folly and work to protect the interests of its people.   As the honorable judge who presided over Mr. Hari Prasad case said, “whatever Mr. Hari Prasad  has done it was in public interest and involves 100 crore people of the country.  As there were no dishonest intentions on his part,  ECI should examine Mr. Hari Prasad’s scientific evidence rather than proceed in this manner”.

We hope ECI and Indian establishment would heed the advice of the honorable judge.

For additional information, contact  Satya Dosapati, SaveIndianDemocracy.org@gmail.com,  +1 732 723 8832

###

Another communication with ECI requesting to take a stand against continued harassment of activists on Sept 19, 2010

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Save Indian Democracy <saveindiandemocracy.org@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Sep 19, 2010 at 12:39 AM
Subject: Mr. Quraishi, Please take a stand on continued harassment of activists
To: syquraishi@eci.nic.in, vssampath <vs.sampath@eci.gov.in>, syq2@rediffmail.com, navinchawla@eci.gov.in, Dr Alok Shukla <dralokshukla@eci.gov.in>
Cc: kshayrout@eci.gov.in, vinodzutshi@eci.gov.in, ashishs@eci.gov.in, yashvir@eci.gov.in, tkumar@eci.gov.in, kakumar@eci.gov.in, rksrivastava@eci.gov.in, kfwilfred@eci.gov.in, mendiratta.sk@eci.gov.in, ystandhope@eci.gov.in, skrudola@eci.gov.in, varinderkr@eci.gov.in, knbhar@eci.gov.in, anuj@eci.gov.in, electiontransparencyworldwide@googlegroups.com, ashish@eci.gov.in, srkar@eci.gov.in, sureshchand@eci.gov.in

Dear Dr. Quraishi,

It is with pain we hear the news about continuous arrest and harassment of activists.  We understand that ECI is not involved in these harassments and it would greatly help if  ECI could withdraw the complaint and even make a statement on the damage the harassment is doing to the reputation of ECI.  This will save the honor of this respectable institution you are leading.  Just few weeks ago I read in news media in west that in spite of several countries around India being undemocratic, India managed to retain democracy.   Such reputation will fast erode if quick action is not taken.

Here are my thoughts on this whole episode and feel free to correct me.   From the sources available to activists in India, this harassment is understood to be spearheaded by Maharashtra Government with the pressure from the top.  According to Dr. Subramanian Swamy the pressure is right from the top at the center.  If this is true, it is very unfortunate.   The whole episode shows desperation and conscious effort to muzzle the voice of people standing for the country.   When this effort started independently within India and outside India, a conscious decision was made not to challenge the past elections and work to make a positive change by involving all players.   This is not to say that there is no proof that there is lot of data showing how things went awry during earlier elections as enumerated in Mr. Narasimha Rao book,  ‘Democracy at Risk’.   But we never have challenged nor intend to challenge in the future about past elections.  During German Supreme Court proceedings on the EVM, the honorable German Supreme court judges wrestled with this issue.   But the judges took a practical approach that there are no challenges made in the earlier elections where EVM was used,  therefore those elections are valid.  Here we are, with so much data that questions the earlier elections, but the activists chose not to bring that topic and the activists are haunted as if they have done major crime.

The whole situation for those who live outside India such as in Western democracies shows that Indian democracy is puerile.   The crop of politicians across spectrum the Indian democracy seems to put up is the ethically lowest strata of the society.   According to Transparency International the Corruption Perception Index of India is same as the war torn African country  Rwanda.   The degradation in our political system is best understood by the amount of looted money in Swiss and other foreign accounts.  It is estimated that if all the stashed money is brought back to India every one of the 120 crore Indians (every man, woman and child) would get one lakh rupees.   Another estimate says that our politicians have looted in just 60 years, double the amount of what British looted in 200 years. The mining mafia of India today are even controlling some of the state Governments with billions of dollars of looted wealth.  Indians believe our politicians will even sell pieces of the country for making profit.  It is not surprising to see the degree of anxiety to preserve the mechanisms for looting the country.  It is foolish for us to think that they will not to go to any extent to protect their interests and would easily let go the EVMs that provide  a large scale opportunity to manipulate elections wholesale without any clue.  They are more aware than ECI or most of the country that it is not necessary to manipulate all EVMs,  just the select few in select constituencies will suffice.  The requests Hari Prasad company Net India got as far as from North East itself is the solid proof.

It is not that Indians are incapable.  Indians are running multi billion dollars institutions from the Indian woman President of Pepsi to largest entrepreneurial community in Silicon valley that is changing the world to the running of the institutions in largest Western Democracy like US, based on the number of high ranking Indians Americans in Obama administration.  However, we seem to have left the running of India to dredges of the society.   It took one small mistake to bring down Nixon administration ignominiously, small contribution to his party in return for senate seat brought down Illinois Governor Blagojevich recently.   But in India, colossal things happen in broad daylight with impunity but few activists bringing attention to the problems in EVMs are hounded.

It is an abomination to hear the recent news about several of the Supreme Court Judges in India are corrupt.  The Government looks other way while the country mineral resources meant for upliftment of all citizens of the country being looted away by select few because it is happy with its share of the loot.  If their wealth is declared they will rank among the Forbes list of billionaires.  That loot is used to win elections and perpetuate the cycle.  The political system has engendered dynasties to secure and perpetuate the looting.   Enormous resources of the country are expended to protect these politicians while the citizens have little protection even from terrorism.   The Government machinery that is supposed to protect the citizens is being used to protect the interest of these politicians.   The security agencies that should be used to protect the country from its enemies externally and internally, are being used by the Government to frame conspiracy charges on those who are working selflessly for the sake of the country.  The tapping of the phones and close monitoring of EVM activists who has little to hide is a shame of our country.

It is not surprising even the Indian media hardly commands respect both inside and outside India for its pusillanimity in exposing the rot and its biased nature. The terrorist violence is already bleeding the country thousands of times (India was next to war torn country Iraq over last few years) and when things get bad enough these thieves will settle in another country with the loot in foreign banks leaving all the rest of Indians to face the music.  If all the well meaning people do not effectively encounter this, there is real danger that India will fast become a banana republic like many poor African nations.

We were told that in addition to activists in India, the Government is targeting to muzzle the voices of  activists outside India.  How many peoples voices does the Government want to  muzzle?.  For every activist that is muzzled, there will be many more that will come.  What is at stake is the future of the country, the freedom of which was obtained by efforts and sacrifices of thousands of people and I can tell you the more they try the more activists will come about, unless the Government wants to create a Stalin Raj in India.   The disenchantment within India with these politicians is so much so today that people feel better protected in a Chinese System or perhaps a benevolent military dictatorship. In fact, China without democracy is much better run than the democracy in India run by the scum of the Indian society.

But sir, as a Chief Election Commissioner of an institution that is independent, you can make a difference, just like your predecessor TN Seshan who showed the strength of ECI.  You  will be remembered in the history of India as one who stood against the forces and took the right path.  Please for few moments look at the overwhelming population of young Indians and see what we are going leave behind for them.  In the midst of the rot in the institutions of India, Election Commission of India is surprisingly a respected institution.  We appeal to you to uphold it for the future of our country and leave a lasting legacy and establish a role model for the whole world how institutions can stay above in spite of trying circumstances.    We request you to appoint an honest committee with open mind and clean the process.  India has a lot to contribute to the world and you have an opportunity to make a mark.

Regards,
Satya Dosapati from Save Indian Democracy

One response to “Communciation between Save Indian Democracy and Election Commission of India

  1. Excellent article. I will be experiencing many of these issues as well.
    .

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