National

‘Can the country survive an invasion by aliens and zombies?’

Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju. File photo.  

Can the country survive an invasion by aliens and zombies without Hollywood actor Will Smith's help? Well, a Mumbai resident is curious and he wants the Home Ministry to respond to it.

Though it's not unusual for government departments to get such queries under the Right to Information Act (RTI), the Home Ministry, which looks after complex internal security issues of the country, was particularly perplexed by this one request.

Ajay Kumar, a Mumbai resident has filed an RTI to know the country's preparedness to protect the country in wake of an "invasion by aliens, zombies and extra dimensional beings."

He further asked the chances of such invasions and "what means did the government have to defeat them."

The applicant also wanted to know if "we can do this without Will Smith?"

‘Too scientific’

On Wednesday, Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju posted this particular query on Twitter to highlight the frivolous requests his Ministry has to deal with in the name of RTI.

"The subject matter is too scientific," Mr. Rijiju said in a tongue-in-cheek response to the query adding "these kind of RTIs waste the precious time of office staff."

Hollywood star Will Smith has featured in multiple movies like Independence Day, Men in Black, I Am Legend, where he takes on aliens and extra terrestrial creatures.

'A sign of protest'

Mr. Kumar, who is a lawyer by profession, said that The Hindu was not the first news outlet to contact him. “It seems that an unredacted copy of my RTI has been shared with the media which includes my number and I got a call last night asking me why I had filed this RTI. I want to ask the Home Ministry why they shared this information publicly. What if there was an RTI activist trying to get information on a scam? This is putting people's lives in danger,” he said.

“There is a judgment by the Calcutta High Court that prohibits making public the personal details of RTI applicants. This is a leak, and therefore the Home Ministry should be held accountable,” he said.

On the specific RTI, Mr. Kumar said that he had filed it as a sign of protest. “When my serious RTIs got a frivolous response from the government, I decided to protest by filing this kind of RTI, wasting a bureaucrat's time is a sign of protest,” he said.

He added that he had, in the past, sought information on various serious issues, but had been given the run around. “I had filed an RTI with the Ministry of External Affairs about whether India had any agreement with the Gulf countries which allowed them to confiscate the passports of our workers there on arrival, since a passport is the property of the Government of India. I was directed to get in touch with every consulate India has in the Gulf states,” he said.