A curious development has emerged in the matter of Suraj Yengde, the Indian Express columnist. It was recently revealed that he had partnered with Khalistani organisation Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF) for a caste-related research project. The project had received $25,000 as grant from Canada’s federal research funding agency, SSHRC.
Suraj Yengde has claimed that someone has been misusing his email id and name for the past two years. He has said that his email was misused to file complaints with the National Human Rights Commission. Yengde clarified that he has never filed any complaints with the organisation and said that the matter had not been addressed despite repeated emails.
Dear @India_NHRC I have never filed any complaint to your good office so far. Someone has been using my name and email ID for the past two years. I have written to you via email but it remains unaddressed. Please accept my formal complaint in this regard. #CyberCrime @HMOIndia pic.twitter.com/EitZ4Z0hxj— surajyengde (@surajyengde) February 19, 2021
It is pertinent to note that the case mentioned in the screenshot shared by Yengde refers to a complaint that has been dismissed by the NHRC. Intriguingly enough, although he says he has never filed a complaint with the NHRC and his email has been misused for the past two years, the first complaint that was filed using his email is from 2013.
Furthermore, an additional three cases are from 2018, nearly 3 years prior while he says his email has been misused for the past 2 years.
The list of complaints is interesting indeed. The one pertaining to Rohit Vemula was filed on the 2nd of March, 2016, nearly 5 years ago; far beyond the 2 years during which Suraj Yengde claims his email and name were being misused.
There is one complaint where the victim is Anand Teltumbde, who was arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. There is another complaint where the victim is “George Floyd and Dalits in India”.
Interestingly, his biography on the Harvard website says, “Suraj is currently a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. He holds a research associate position with the department of African and African American Studies, a non-resident fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, and is part of the founding team of Initiative for Institutional Anti-Racism and Accountability (IARA) at Harvard University. He has studied in four continents (Asia, Africa, Europe, North America), and is India’s first Dalit Ph.D. holder from an African university (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg). He is an International Human Rights attorney by qualification from India and the UK.”
The complaint list also indicates that the complainant is of similar ideological orientation as Suraj Yengde himself. When OpIndia attempted to verify whether emails could be misused, we discovered that it was possible to register a complaint without email verification. But the process does demand OTP verification through one’s phone number.
However, it is clear that complaints have been registered using the email address as far back as in 2015 and at least half of the complaints registered from the email were not during a period when his email is claimed to have been misused.
Either his email has been misused since 2013 or it is not true when Suraj Yengde says he has never registered a complaint with the NHRC. Both cannot be true at the same time. Nevertheless, it is sufficient to say that there is a lot more than what meets the eye in this case.