I wrote about 3 mails in all, asking for (a very meagre) compensation for the damages done as well as credit. For one, I never got a response in written - but of course that would mean acknowledging the theft. When I called up, I was told that it is common practice to “use” free images from the net! Flabbergasted at the audacity of this all, I clearly asked whether TOI staff was blind or illiterate to not be able to make out the clearly written statement on my flickr stream and my copyright license, both of which stated that my images can NOT be used without my explicit permission - ALL rights reserved. This is plagiarism in its full glory.
What a shameless bunch of people we have in the media!
Update: Malayalam blogger Haree also had such an experience. Details and pictures here.