Updated: July 21, 2021 7:56:26 pm
DESCRIBING the Pegasus spyware attack as more dangerous than the Emergency of 1975, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday demanded a probe by a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) into the surveillance operation. “A JPC probe is our first demand. Otherwise, the Supreme Court should take suo moto action and appoint a committee to probe the claims that Pegasus spyware was used to snoop on journalists, politicians, ministers, judges and others,” the Sena said.
In an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena said, “The Pegasus attack has taken place on a few select Indians and it cannot happen without the approval of the central government. Who is responsible for Pegasus snooping? We are demanding a JPC probe as it involves national interest. But is anyone bothered about national interest or national reputation? A handful of people every year observe Emergency as Black Day. Pegasus attack is more dangerous than Emergency. Who are the real brains behind the Pegasus attack? This should be investigated.”
The editorial said, “We considered Israel as a friendly country. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure, this friendship has been further strengthened. Pegasus spyware, which is from Israel, has snooped on at least 1,500 Indians. From Rahul Gandhi to industrialists, politicians, journalists, everyone’s phone has been tapped. This is an attack on individual freedom. This is a straightforward case of spying. The attack has taken place on the biggest democracy of the world.”
“Our Home Minister Amit Shah says this is an international conspiracy to defame our country and democracy. The Home Minister making such a statement is surprising. Who actually is defaming the country? Can the Home Minister tell us? The government belongs to you, the country and democracy is yours. Then who has the guts to carry out this operation,” it added.
“During US President Nixon’s tenure, the Watergate scandal took place. The President had to resign… Similarly, Rajiv Gandhi had alleged that two policemen were stationed outside his house by the then Chandrashekhar government. The Congress withdrew support to the government, which led to its fall. The Pegasus attack is more dangerous than all this. This is because technology was not much developed during that period… Is the Modi government not aware of the fact that phones of thousands of Indians are being snooped on,” said the Saamana.
The paper added, “During Congress regime, the opposition BJP used to demand probe into spying cases. Now, the BJP is in power but is refusing to even hold a discussion in Parliament.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Sate for Information & Technology and Home, Satej Patil, slammed the Modi government, saying it was “ruining India’s great democratic values” and the Pegasus leak was a “massive breach of Indian people’s trust and privacy”. Patil also demanded stronger IT mechanism that could hold the government accountable instead of “bullying technology platforms”.
In a tweet, Patil, who is also a senior Congress leader, said, “The Pegasus leak is a massive breach of Indian people’s trust and their privacy. Spying on Indian citizens using taxpayer’s money with the help of an international agency, the Modi government is ruining India’s great democratic values.”
In another tweet, he said, “We need stronger IT measures which, instead of bullying tech platforms to surrender user information, hold the government accountable and safeguard the privacy & security of each and every Indian!”
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