Ms. Kiran Bedi has always been news in India. She is a PhD, and a recipient of the Ramon Magsasay Award; acted as Police Advisor to the UN, has been voted the most popular woman in India and been an Asian Tennis champion. She has founded two NGOS which do a lot of philanthropy in a real sense. As the first and highest ranking woman officer of the Indian Police Service, her constant skirmishes with the yes men in the government machinery; got her an almost iconic status among the commoners in India.
And recently when Kiran quit service protesting against the denial of her rightful place in the hierarchy, the public became richer by a truth-seeker who knows both sides of the picture. Her honesty has been impeccable even though she has been in public service for quite a few decades, which gives time for any person to change course. After her retirement from the government post, she certainly didn’t retire from her public duties as a citizen. She did what she knew best, Kiran Bedi put up a web site called ‘saferindia.com’.
How does one use saferindia.com? Go to this site and log your complaint regarding any crime but only if the police at your place are not registering your complaint. Then this NGO will mail your complaint to the DGP if the site is convinced that this is not a part of a personal grudge. You can also use this mail as the legal document in case of filing a case in the court of judgment. The site is directly administered by Ms Kiran Bedi and says Mission Safer India does the part of forwarding the complaints alone and will not be responsible if the department does not take action.
Now an IIT trained techie, Ashutosh Kumar, has charged Kiran Bedi of pinching his website idea. Ashutosh Kumar is a B Tech CSE from IIT Kanpur. A socially conscious young man sensitive to what happens around him; he noted that the infamous Nithari killings went unnoted for almost two years because the police had not bothered to record FIRs when the family of the missing people approached them. He set about to bring in a system to track unlodged FIRs and consequently launched a website called www.finerindia.com on Dec 24, 2007. There are other features on finerindia.com; to upload the details of missing persons and where police can upload details and photographs of wanted criminals. FinerIndia also provides a platform, to discuss the burning issues currently India faces. The latest addition is a lecture video series for the students of India.
Ashutosh is quite upset about the Kiran Bedi site and says his website had been launched ten days ahead of Ms.Bedi’s and the idea was copied from his concept. Techgoss asked him whether the time frame of one week was enough to do copying, and he has replied that “for them it’s done by a company, ‘Mobile Mantra’ and for a team just one week is enough to build such a site. Kiran Bedi’s site is Powered and Licensed by Mobile Mantra’’. Ashutosh says he made enquiries and is convinced that there was some copying done. Ashutosh also said that he has sent Kiran Bedi a legal notice demanding deletion of certain phrases that claim her site to be a ‘pioneering’ venture in connecting citizens with the police. Ashutosh adds that Kiran Bedi confines the activities of her website to the Delhi area alone, while his site does it for the whole country.
Meanwhile, public support is building for Ms. Bedi and a web mail is going round introducing her site. Both sites are absolutely laudable efforts and launched by respected persons and seeing that there is space for more sites of the genre in the web universe, this could perhaps be a case of ‘great minds think alike’ rather than plagiarism.