Under attack by the opposition over reports of snooping of prominent citizens using Israeli Pegasus spyware, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday claimed that “disruptors and obstructers” will not be able to derail India’s development trajectory through their “conspiracies”.
In a statement, Shah said: “People have often associated this phrase with me in a lighter vein but today I want to seriously say – the timing of the selective leaks, the disruptions… ‘Aap Chronology Samajhiye’ (understand the chronology). This is a report by the disrupters for the obstructers.”
“Disrupters are global organisations which do not like India to progress. Obstructers are political players in India who do not want India to progress. People of India are very good at understanding this chronology and connection,” he contended.
The Home Minister stated that “disruptors and obstructers will not be able to derail India’s development trajectory through their conspiracies and monsoon session will bear new fruits of progress”.
Referring to timing of the reports’ release, Shah said: “The facts and sequence of events are for the entire nation to see. Today the Monsoon Session of Parliament has started. In what seemed like a perfect cue, late last evening, we saw a report which has been amplified by a few sections with only one aim – to do whatever is possible and humiliate India at the world stage, peddle the same old narratives about our nation and derail India’s development trajectory.”
“The people of India have high hopes from the current Monsoon Session. Key bills for the welfare of farmers, youngsters, women and the backward sections of society are lined up for debate and discussion. No less than the Prime Minister said that the Government is ready to discuss all topics,” he said.
Hitting out at the opposition, Shah said: “Just a few days ago the Council of Ministers was expanded with great emphasis given to women, SC, ST and OBC members. But there are forces unable to digest this. They also want to derail national progress. This merits the question – to whose tune are these people dancing, who want to keep showing India in poor light? What pleasure do they get to time and again show India in bad light?”
Attacking the Congress, he said: “To see the rudderless Congress jump on to this bandwagon is not unexpected. They have good past experience in trampling democracy and with their own house not in order, they are now trying to derail anything progressive that comes up in Parliament.”
About the opposition’s behaviour in the Parliament when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was introducing his new ministers, Shah said: “When the Prime Minister rose in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to introduce his Council of Ministers, which is a well-established norm, the Congress-led Opposition was in the well of both the Houses. Is this their respect for Parliamentary norms? The same behaviour continued when the IT Minister was speaking about the issue.”
“And, I want to assure the people of India that the Modi govt’s priority is clear – ‘National Welfare’ and we will keep working to achieve that no matter what happens,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Randeep Singh Surjewala held the Narendra Modi government guilty of “treason”, claiming that the “Centre’s spyware has dismantled national security”, after it emeregd former party President Rahul Gandhi, among others, was one one of the potential targets of snooping using the Pegasus spyware developed by Israel’s NSO Group.
At least two mobile phone accounts used by Rahul Gandhi were among the 300 verified Indian numbers listed as potential targets by an official Indian client of the Israeli surveillance technology vendor, NSO Group, The Wire reported.
“Shouldn’t Home Minister Amit Shah, in-charge of the country’s internal security, be sacked forthwith? Does this not warrant a full investigation into the role of the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and others involved,” the Congress leaders asked.
The Congress said that it’s “shocking and sensational” that news reports disclosing illegal and unconstitutional hacking of cellphones of Constitutional functionaries, Union Cabinet ministers, present and former heads of security forces, senior leaders of the opposition, journalists, lawyers and activists reflect treasonous and inexcusable dismantling of national security by the BJP government.
“‘Rule of law’, ‘fundamental right to privacy’ and ‘Constitutional duties’ have been murdered in broad day light by the Modi government,” the Congress leaders said.
They further said that it is an ‘unpardonable sin’ that snooping and hacking of cellphones through Pegasus has given someone illegal access to the entire conversations, passwords, contact lists, text messages and live voice calls of India’s security apparatus, Union ministers, opposition leaders, Supreme Court judges and others.
“This is clearly treason and total abdication of national security by the Modi government, more so when a foreign company could possibly have access to this data.
“And the person responsible for this is no one less than the Home Minister of India, Amit Shah. Of course, it could not be done without the consent and concurrence of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. This is an unforgivable sacrilege and negation of Constitutional oath by the Home Minister and the Prime Minister,” the Congress leaders said in a statement.