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UPA Govt routinely spies on Muslims

New Delhi: In what gives away the treacherous, conspiratorial and anti-Muslim nature of our intelligence agencies, the central government has acquired sensitive technology from Israeli companies (Comverse and Verint) among others to routinely spy on Muslim neighbourhoods. These sophisticated snooping systems are frequently deployed in Muslim-dominated areas of cities like Delhi, Lucknow and Hyderabad. The systems, mounted inside cars, are sent on blind “fishing expeditions”, randomly tuning into conversations of innocent citizens in a bid to track down “terrorists”. This criminal exercise in serious breach of citizens’ human, civil and political rights, violating the privacy of protected individuals, goes on despite the fact that these expeditions only snoop on innocent citizens instead of catching terrorists. “We have deployed the system in places like Seelampur or Jamia in Delhi or the old city of Hyderabad on a few occasions, in the hope that we might pick up critical conversations,” said an intelligence official. “But most of the time, we end up getting private calls or lovers speaking to each other.” (outlookindia.com).

This criminal activity is undertaken by the technical intelligence-gathering agency which dubs itself “the Radio Monitoring Service” or the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO). Its activities include land and mobile phone tapping and tracking e-mails and SMSes. In an illegal exercise it compells telecom companies to provide a 20 ftx20 ft room in every city, with eight computers for every exchange. These computers belong to a designated agency like the IB, DRI, CBI and others. The computers are capable of recording all conversations and call details. This criminal activity began with the UPA government in saddle in 2005.

The most intrusive of these systems are the off-the-air GSM/CDMA monitoring devices procured by various central and state intelligence organisations across the country. Sources estimate 90 such systems to have been bought so far, enabling intelligence agents to track, hear and record cellphone conversations at will without even approaching the telecom companies. These systems are frequently deployed in Muslim-dominated areas of cities like Delhi, Lucknow and Hyderabad. The systems, mounted inside cars, are sent on “fishing expeditions”, randomly tuning into conversations of citizens in a bid to track down terrorists. Unfortunately, though, such expeditions more often end up violating the privacy of individuals than in catching extremists. “We have deployed the system in places like Seelampur or Jamia in Delhi or the old city of Hyderabad on a few occasions, in the hope that we might pick up critical conversations,” says an intelligence official. “But most of the time, we end up getting private calls or lovers speaking to each other.”

The NTRO has purchased at least six systems and deployed them in Delhi, while the IB has eight such systems in the capital. Codenamed ‘Fox’, the device costs about Rs 7 crore and can intercept mobile telephony by grabbing the signals from the air as soon as a call is made or received and the signal is sent from the cellphone to the nearest cellphone tower.

“We chose to duplicate them in Hyderabad and Lucknow, which have a large Muslim population; Bangalore, since it has a large foreign presence; Delhi and Calcutta since these are the other major cities. The Lucknow and Hyderabad facilities came up on M. K. Narayanan’s suggestion,” a senior intelligence official told Outlook.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2010 on page no. 1

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