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Congress accuses govt. of ‘snooping’, urges Supreme Court to hold Centre accountable

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. File   | Photo Credit: Rohit Jain Paras

The Congress on Thursday accused the Centre of “snooping” after social media giant WhatsApp claimed that journalists and human rights activists in India have been targets of surveillance, and asked the Supreme Court to take suo moto notice of the illegal hacking.

WhatsApp’s revelations came out after they sued an Israeli company, NSO, whose software Pegasus was used to hack phones of roughly 1,400 users.

Addressing a press conference, chief spokesperson of the Congress Randeep Surjewala demanded that there should be a court-monitored probe into the allegations.

Watch | Explained: Pegasus, the spyware that came in via WhatsApp

“Instead of digressing from the issue of illegal, unconstitutional and unauthorised surveillance of citizens of India by asking WhatsApp to explain, let Ravishankar Prasad and the BJP government, who are sworn to protect the Constitution, answer which agency of the government has purchased and deployed the Pegasus surveillance software?” asked Mr Surjewala.

“Who – Prime Minister or the National Security Advisor – authorised the purchase of Pegasus? And what action would the government take against those guilty of illegally and unconstitutionally hacking the telephones and spying on journalists; Dalit, political and other activists; lawyers; academicians, Opposition leaders and judges?” the Congress leader asked.

“It is time to remind the nation that the present BJP government opposed the Right to Privacy to be read as part of the fundamental rights. It, in fact, argued that no Indian should have theRight to Privacy until the Supreme Court overruled it and declared Right to Privacy as a fundamental right,” he added.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who is abroad, tweeted to suggest that it was a government operation and called it “WhatsA-Ops”.

“The Govt seeking WhatsA-Op’s response on who bought Pegasus to spy on Indian citizens, is like Modi asking Dassault who made money on the sale of RAFALE jets to India!” tweeted Mr Gandhi

Expressing concern over the revelations, CPI general secretary D. Raja told The Hindu that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah should clarify and give out the truth about these allegations”.


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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 11:09:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-accuses-govt-of-snooping-urges-sc-to-hold-centre-accountable/article29840439.ece

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