Govt IP address held responsible for Anonymous Wiki edits on Nehru family

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‘Happy Threesome’: Nehru and the Mountbattens near Simla in 1948
Source: India Remembered

Congress is raging yet another attack against the government, this time citing anonymous edits in the Wikipedia pages carrying information about former Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his forefathers. Calling the edits, dated June 26, as ‘mischievous’, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said, the Prime Minister should initiate the corrective measures and that a criminal case should be lodged under necessary provisions of IT act and Indian Penal code. However, the edits were later deleted by volunteer editors of Wikipedia.

The report of the edits came from the Twitter handle @AnonGoIWPEdits, of a software developed by Pranesh Prakash based in Bengaluru. Prakash, policy director at Center for Internet and Society, noted that all edits regarding the topic originated from the same IP address. When the IP address was verified at whois.domaintools.com, it was identified to be that of Government owned National Informatics Center (NIC).

The edited Wiki page said that, the grand father of Jawaharlal Nehru, Gangadhar Nehru was a Muslim named Ghiasuddin Ghazi initially, and that he changed his name to escape from the British. Similar edits were made on the pages of Ganga Dhar’s son Motilal Nehru and grandson Jawaharlal. On the former PM’s page, salacious details of his “affair” with Edwina Mountbatten, the wife of India’s first governor general, Lord Mountbatten, were also added.

“All this shows is that it is an IP address provided by NIC. It doesn’t say anything more than that,” said Prakash. When asked if the user could be pinpointed, he said that it would be difficult as it isn’t clear as to who all have access to the NIC network.

Although NIC computers can also get hacked, Prakash says that no one is likely to do such a skilled task just to bad mouth public personalities. He started looking into such edits after noticing similar efforts in UK ([email protected]) and in US ([email protected]). “I think it is interesting to see what government people (sic) are editing anonymously,” Prakash said.

Surjewala asked the Prime Minister if he could ever answer how the Wiki pages of Congress leaders and former PMs are edited from government IP addresses.

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