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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Citizens, speak up! UPA govt is framing a national whistle-blower act

Mumbai, 25th August: The UPA government’s duplicity is out in the open, and the falsehood of its talk about protecting whistle-blowers stands exposed. Election Commission of India and Maharashtra police are hand-in-glove with UPA at the Centre and in the State to suppress research on hacking of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Whistle-blower Hari K Prasad, technical coordinator of VeTA (Citizens for Verifiability, Transparency and Accountability in Elections), was arrested by a Maharashtra police team early on Saturday, 21 August, from his residence in Hyderabad. The arrest was made on the flimsy charge of ‘theft of EVM’ used for vulnerability demonstration by this researcher and his colleagues Alex Halderman, professor of computer science, University of Michigan and Rop Gonggrijp, a researcher from Netherlands. [See their photo here: ]

Maharashtra police went to Hyderabad in first week August and recorded Mr Prasad’s statement about the EVM used for exposing the vulnerability of EVMs. They summoned him to Mumbai for further questioning. As he did not oblige, they swooped down and arrested him.

Unless whistle-blowers are murdered, their sufferings go unnoticed by all of us, often because their disclosures are specialized and difficult to understand. Whistle-blowers wage their lonely battles within the organizations where they are employed, where they are subjected to departmental enquiries, suspended or dismissed. Their submissions to Anti Corruption Bureau or to Central Vigilance Commission are usually stonewalled. Some continue to fight a lonely battle, and others give up, embittered by our general apathy. We suffer a great loss because corrupt wrongdoers go scot-free and continue looting public resources for personal gain.

But Mr Prasad’s case is hopefully different because he is fighting for our right to free and fair elections! This is a matter that all of us can easily understand. To understand how EVMs are being hacked:
· See this video:
· Read this technical paper:
· Broadcast quality high resolution videos of hacking of ECI-EVMs are available at this web page:
· Documentation of advocacy efforts of Hari Prasad & colleagues:

Contrast the above with:
· Unsubstantiated claims of Election Commission of India (ECI) about EVMs being “tamper-proof and error-free” (third item on this page):
· ECI’s press statement justifying arrest of Mr Prasad, distancing itself from the police action, but ironically also acknowledging that he is a genuine campaigner and activist:

It will be a national shame if we -- activists, civil society and media – fail to take a stand on this crucial issue. Hari Prasad and his colleagues have demonstrated that hacking of Electronic Voting Machines is not just a possibility, but a probability. In fact, the UPA government’s anxiety to ignore this research raises suspicions about the General Elections and Maharashtra assembly elections in 2009, when the Congress party emerged with surprise victories with a tiny percentage of swing votes. Were the EVMs tampered? Were these elections and maybe others also, rigged? The answer, as they say, is blowing in the wind.

If you are convinced of the rightness of Mr Prasad’s cause, don’t remain silent spectators. After all, this man is fighting for your right to have free and fair elections, not for his personal gain.

What We Must Do:
1. Fire an RTI application. See draft of application:
2. Send letter of protest to Prime Minister, UPA Chief and Chief Election Commissioner:
3. Dial 1585 from landline and send this phonogram:
4. Go to ECI’s “feedback” page and copy-paste phonogram message there. Or email a suitable message to
5. Read media reports about Hari Prasad’s arrest, and write suitable comments and letters-to-the-editor. Links to the top media reports on internet:
6. Phone the Chief Election Commissioner or send a suitable fax message. Tel: 011-23717391 Fax: 011-23713412.

Mr. Citizen, your voice counts. Please speak up loud and clear. Jai Hind!

Warm Regards,
98215 88114

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