The second day of the Monsoon session of Parliament was as tumultuous as the first with Pegasus snooping controversy leading to multiple disruptions in the Lok Sabha before it was adjourned for the day.
While proceedings in the lower house were adjourned, the Rajya Sabha was able to discuss the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the country after a couple of hours of disruptions in the morning.
By virtue of serving multiple notices for the suspension of routine business to discuss the snooping row, Lok Sabha members like Manish Tewari, Manickam Tagore, and Gaurav Gogoi and the opposition made it clear that they wouldn’t let the matter rest.
The revelation of the possibility of Pegasus snooping on Karnataka leaders before the Congress-JD(S) govt toppled in 2019 ran shockwaves across the house and in turn, invited some harsh reactions from the Opposition.
Congress Demands Probe by JPC
The Congress on Tuesday stepped up its attack on the government over the Pegasus snooping row and demanded a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee. The opposition party along with other parties also stalled proceedings of both houses of Parliament while raising the issue. Opposition members raised uproar in both houses and demanded a thorough probe into the charges of snooping on journalists, politicians, ministers, judges and others using Israeli Pegasus spyware. Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said the government should clearly tell whether it has purchased the Pegasus spyware or not and hold a joint parliamentary probe.
Adityanath Slams Opposition
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday lashed out at the opposition parties for creating a “negative" atmosphere in the country and stalling the Parliament proceedings over the Pegasus snooping controversy and demanded that they apologise. At a press conference here, the BJP leader also said it was because of the “negative attitude" of the Opposition that it did not allow issues concerning the common people to be raised in Parliament.
TMC Vows to Continue Disrupting Parliament
The Trinamool Congress leaders too had given an adjournment notice after the name of party’s Lok Sabha member Abhishek Banerjee, figured in the list of potential targets for hacking. The Trinamool Congress Tuesday said it will continue to disrupt Parliament proceedings till the government comes clean on the charges of snooping and surveillance using the Pegasus spyware and discusses it in both Houses. The party said it will, however, not halt any discussion on the coronavirus situation or aspects related to it. ‘This (Pegasus spyware) is a serious issue and the TMC will not compromise on it. We will not let either House run till this government comes clean on the charges of snooping and surveillance. The government has spent millions to hack into phones at a time when the country is dealing with a pandemic,’ TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien said.
Gujarat CM Accuses Opposition for Harbouring ‘Anti-National Mentality’
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Tuesday accused the Congress and other opposition parties of playing into the hands of foreign forces and displaying an “anti national mentality" by creating a controversy over the Pegasus spyware issue to malign India’s image. An international media consortium reported on Sunday that over 300 verified mobile phone numbers, including of two ministers, over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders and one sitting judge besides scores of businesspersons and activists in India could have been targeted for hacking through the spyware.
Delhi Congress, IYC Take Out Protest Demanding Judicial Inquiry
Delhi Congress leaders and workers staged a protest near BJP headquarters on Tuesday, demanding a judicial inquiry into the use of Pegasus spyware against journalists and politicians. The protesters led by Delhi Congress president Anil Kumar marched raising slogans and carrying placards from their party office on DDU Marg to the nearby BJP headquarters.
Kapil Sibal Demands SC-monitored Probe
Former IT minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal Tuesday demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe in the Pegasus snooping matter and a government white paper in Parliament explicitly stating whether the Israeli spyware was used by it or not. Referring to Shah’s ‘Aap Chronology Samajhiye’ comment, the Congress leader said, “We are understanding the chronology, I want to say to Amit Shah ji ‘Aap iski chronology samajhiye (You should understand the chronology of this matter), this was done between 2017-2019."
Rajasthan Cong Seeks Probe Against PM Modi
The Rajasthan Congress on Tuesday demanded the sacking of Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the Pegasus snooping row while party chief Govind Singh Dotasra demanded a probe to be held against PM Narendra Modi. “An inquiry should be conducted by the Supreme court into the matter. Home Minister Amit Shah should be sacked and an inquiry into the role of the PM should be conducted,” Dotasra demanded while talking to reporters.
Earlier Amit Shah had also launched a scathing attack on the Congress for amplifying the Pegasus row in order to show India in poor light on the world stage.
The allegations about the use of the malware, known as Pegasus, were published on Sunday as part of a global investigation by the Washington Post, the Guardian and 14 other media organisations, including The Wire in India.