Sunday, May 2, 2010

Phone tapping and its aftereffects - What is the reason for the existence of spy agencies?

Recent phone tapping of political leaders - Union Agricultural Minister Sharad Pawar, Congress leader Digvijay Singh, Bihar Cheif Minister Nitish Kumar, CPI (M) Gen Secretary Prakash Karat etc) - especially opposition party leaders raised many question about the usage of spy agencies in Politics.

According to the latest revelation the action was carried out by (NTRO - National Technical Research Organization) by using new gadgets. Political leaders especially opposition, cried foul and criticized government for using spy agencies against them. But let’s look at the facts.

In a country like India with 1.2 billion people with that much different lives and where wolves are always snuffing around to find a hole to exploit; there no reason to cry foul on phone tapping. It is due to these actions we got a lot of information about the terrorist activities and bomb blasts. This is the reason why we got information about Pakistani handlers of recent Mumbai attackers; got the tape related to the linkage between Telecom minister and PR lobbyist ‘Nira Radia’ (Now the tape is with IT department) etc.

It is certain that these activities (which will not be disclosed in public domain due to security reasons) helped to save the lives of thousands. Also due to the failure of us in detecting things early resulted in blood bath – Mumbai attacks, insurgency activities in North east, J & K, Kargil, Maoist insurgency in central eastern India, bomb blasts in Delhi, Pune, Guwahati, Mumbai, Varanasi, Coimbatore, Bangalore, J & K etc, we also lost two prime ministers and thousands of Civilians and security personals.

Spy agencies are critical to the existence of peace in a nation. Countries, which were able to maintain peace even in the midst of terrorist activities in the other parts of the world, will be thankful, to their spy networks. Silver screen too the life of many agents; even now people are waiting for the 23rd movie in the Bond series!
We have to consider the fact that in a country like India - where even for small reason people starts riots, terrorists are waiting for an opportunity to bleed the nation - national security holds more value than the privacy of an individual. Now-a-days for an individual to peacefully exist in a society, government had to deploy every available means against the disruptive powers.

But at the same time government should not use the agencies for its private purposes. They can’t use government agencies to discover what the opposition leaders think during elections or voting in parliament, until and unless it involves national security. Government can’t use spy agencies to detect which candidate holds more chance to win in a constituency and how the election results will be. If the want to do it they can employ private detective agencies and the expenses should not be paid from public exchequer.

There is nothing wrong in phone tapping if it concerns national security, provided there should be good reason to suspect the person. Intelligence agencies time should not be wasted on fulfilling the ruling parties desires; but have to be used for providing security cover tot he nation which is under multiple threats - both internal and external. Leave Prakash Karat, Nitish Kumar etc and look in to the real matters.


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