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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Centre must come clean on cryptocurrency issue: Congress leader Adhir in Parliament

“The government should give an explanation on how the handle got hacked twice in the last two years,” he said. The PM’s Twitter handle was hacked in September last year too.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi |
Updated: December 13, 2021 7:46:18 pm
Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Choudhary speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. (LSTV/PTI Photo)(PTI12_08_2021_000160A)

The leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, on Monday asked the Union government to clear the air on the cryptocurrency issue. Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter handle was hacked for a brief period on Sunday, during which a message supporting bitcoin appeared on his page.

“At a time when the government is planning to ban cryptocurrencies, the prime minister’s Twitter handle is compromised and a link is tweeted saying the government is going to recognise cryptocurrencies. The government should clarify in Parliament whether it is going to recognise cryptocurrency or not,” Chowdhury said.

Chowdhury said that if the prime minister’s Twitter handle could be compromised, how can the government be sure of the safety and security of citizens’ Twitter handles. “This is a serious issue… The safety and security of our country is at risk here,” he said, adding that the handle was compromised earlier too.

“The government should give an explanation on how the handle got hacked twice in the last two years,” he said. The PM’s Twitter handle was hacked in September last year too.

At 2:11am on Sunday, Modi’s Twitter account sent out a tweet saying, “India has officially adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender. The government has officially bought 500 BTC and is distributing them to all residents of the country.” The tweet also had a link to a blog, with a postscript that said: “The future has come today”. Nearly an hour later, another tweet from the official handle of the Prime Minister’s Office said the Prime Minister’s Twitter handle was “very briefly compromised” and that the matter had been raised with Twitter.

Sources in the government said that the matter was being investigated.

Also, days after an ally MP asked the BJP-led government to withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), an Opposition MP during the Question Hour on Monday demanded the suspension of the law, withdrawal of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) cases filed against the protesters and sought an apology from the Prime Minister.

Pointing out that after the initial ‘adamant’ stance, the government has withdrawn the contentious farm laws against which farmers were protesting, BSP MP Danish Ali said: “There has been agitation across the country protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act. From the universities to the streets, a lot of people, especially women, have been leading a peaceful protest against the law. The government should withdraw the law.”

He asked the government to withdraw the UAPA cases filed against some of the protesters. “Withdraw those cases… and the Prime Minister should tender an apology to the nation,” he said.

Notably, during a meeting of the ruling NDA alliance for floor coordination ahead of the Winter Session, National People’s Party (NPP) MP Agatha Sangma sought the cancellation of the CAA.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) MP E T Mohammad Basheer cited a number of incidents across the country in which minorities and members of other weaker sections were purportedly harassed. “I would like to say that the constitutional rights are there for everybody, not for any particular religion. When that is the guarantee given by the Constitution, I urge upon the government to do justice,” he said during the Zero Hour.

“I recently visited the Garukhuti project area of Assam, where I saw that thousands of innocent people were being driven away from the places where they had been staying for years together. Similarly, we are witnessing hellish experiences in other places also,” Basheer added, referring to the alleged incidents of violence against minorities in Tripura.

“All this is used as an instrument to torture the innocent people. Recently, there was an attack on a church in Karnataka. This is also a worrisome subject… In an old area near Gurugram, for the last two to three months, jumma prayer, the congregational prayer, is not being allowed. This is a very sad thing. What is happening is that vandalism is going on. What these hooligans are doing is that when the people come to offer jumma prayers, they attack them…” he said.

Basheer alleged that police personnel were not stopping the incidents and acting like mute spectators.

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