Centre’s new surveillance order: We are a police state, says Congress

Parties blame snooping order on BJP panic after the rout in Assembly elections.

Updated - December 03, 2021 10:01 am IST

Published - December 21, 2018 12:10 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress leader Anand Sharma addressing the media outside Parliament House. Opposition leaders Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, Sanjay Sharma, Ram Gopal Yadav and Manoj Jha are also seen.

Congress leader Anand Sharma addressing the media outside Parliament House. Opposition leaders Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, Sanjay Sharma, Ram Gopal Yadav and Manoj Jha are also seen.

Opposition parties said on Friday that the Ministry of Home Affairs order authorising 10 central agencies to intercept “any information” on computers, clearly shows that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government wants to establish a “surveillance state”.

Opposing the move, the parties, including the Congress, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Aam Aadmi Party and Trinamool Congress, addressed a press conference in Parliament.

Right to privacy

“Through this order they have converted India into a police state. This government has been tapping phones of opposition leaders, senior officials and even of judges. But now no citizen has a right to privacy. It is in direct conflict with the Supreme Court judgement that right to privacy is a fundamental right,” Congress Rajya Sabha MP Anand Sharma said.

The parties alleged that the BJP government is rattled due to their defeat in Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and the order is a result of that.

Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav said, “This government has only a few months left and it should not dig holes for itself as a new government will be installed in the Centre soon,” added

Twitter uproar

Several opposition leader took to social media to voice their opposition. Trinamool Congress President and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a series of tweets said, “blanket surveillance” is a bad in law.

“If it is for National Security, then only for that purpose Central Government already has the machinery. But, why all commoners will be affected? Public Opinion please...,” she tweeted.

Her party member Sukhendu Sekhar Roy labelled the move “draconian” and accused the government of tapping the phones of all opposition leaders.

RJD's Manoj Jha said it was a cause of concern for not just parliamentarians, but for every Indian. “They want to covert India into #OrwellianState. This is a threat to media too. I would like to tell the two and a half (Narendra Modi-Amit Shah) syndicate who is ruling right now you are sitting in the departure lounge,” Mr. Jha said.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also voiced his opposition on Twitter. “Why is every Indian being treated like a criminal? This order by a govt wanting to snoop on every citizen is unconstitutional and in breach of the telephone tapping guidelines, the Privacy Judgement and the Aadhaar judgement,” he said.

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