In the name of “surveillance”


The past week had been extremely disturbing week for couple of issues: the controversial death of the Dalit boy Ilavarasan and then the Delhi Metro intimacy tape. For those, who do not know about the first case, Illavarasan a Dalit boy, loved and married Divya, who belonged to another Hindu sub-caste. The love marriage did not end happily. It created caste based tension and Divya decided to return to her mother to end the ongoing tension which started harming other people as well. The case took a critical twist with Illavarasan’s controversial death in the beginning of this July.   While this is a knee jerking example of united we try to stand but caste makes us apart, there was one more disturbing factor that was noted by the High court when the autopsy results were scrutinised. As this report suggests, the autopsy of the body of the youth was seen by many outsiders and there are possibilities that the whole process was recorded in private cell phone devices ( See Staff reporter (July 10, 2013), Experts find defects in process, published in The Hindu. URL: The report also clarified that the experts observed that this recording was done by some police constables. Shocking!  If this report is true then one can understand how much possibilities are there for these clippings to become viral in the net if not checked right now. No law permits private recording of autopsy unless such act is specially permitted for further court cases or research work. Also if this becomes viral, there is every chance that there could be wide range of violence.
I derive at this conclusion that such clipping captured by the internal mechanism system can become viral from the observation of the second case, i.e, the Delhi Metro sex tape case . 
On July 9 almost all the leading newspapers reported that  CCTV footage of couple’s intimacy in Delhi metro stations have reached the porn sites and the cyber crime cell is roped in to probe the matter( See PTI, July9, 2013, Probe ordered after CCTV footage of couples petting in Delhi metro lands in porn sites. URL: CCTV footage of protected areas  in porn sites ? Another knee jerking reality that internal system has been unauthorisedly accessed to separate such ‘private moments’ from other regular scenes in the metro stations. It is indeed true that metro stations may have areas which are not illuminated properly and CCTV is essential to check any unsocial activities that may occur in public places including such darker places.  But look at the other side of protective technical system which must have been mishandled by some one who intentionally monitored the footage to take out only these clippings. Government surveillance system has now brought huge embarrassment for these young couples. More so, it would obviously be the woman who would be focussed more than the man in the porn sites.  there are now huge debates going around questioning the behaviour of the young people in public places, government surveillance mechanisms and the law’s double edged effects.  CCTV surveillance has helped to detect many crimes, but this would be one of the finest examples as how the mechanism can be affected internally to defy the surveillance law’s meaningful purposes. Further, I must tell that the victims are lucky as the footage is now under investigation after the Delhi metro rail corporation immediately stepped in for damage control. But imagine the fate of other victims who find their awkward pictures/clippings in porn sites due to intentional mishandling of the data received from internal surveillance mechanism in public places including hotels, shops etc, and have to run from pillar to post to get justice. I was extremely shocked to find that many city police websites do not give proper contact details of cyber crime cells where the victim can physically go and report the problem. Emails and phone numbers given there are mostly non-operative and the victim often gets no response.

Time has come that the officials must be saviours and not another element to escalate the crime.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2013), “In the name of “surveillance”, 11thJuly,2013, published in

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