Pegasus row rocks Parliament
- Kapil Sibal demands SC-monitored probe
- Ex-JNU students Umar, Anirban in list
New Delhi: The Pegasus snooping controversy rocked the Lok Sabha proceedings on Tuesday, leading to continued disruptions and repeated adjournments of the House. Soon after the House assembled at 3 pm, the opposition members again started raising slogans on the Pegasus snooping issue, forcing the chair to adjourn the House for the day.
The Lok Sabha will now meet on Thursday after the Eid holiday. This was the second day of the Monsoon Session that the House could not transact any legislative business. On Monday, the Opposition had disrupted the proceedings over a variety of issues, including price rise and three farm laws.
Earlier in the day, the House was adjourned twice after the Opposition created a ruckus over snooping and other issues. Opposition members, including from the Congress and the TMC, started raising slogans and showing placards to attack the government on the snooping issue as soon as the House met for the day at 11 am. The proceedings lasted for barely five minutes.
The same scene was witnessed when the House reassembled at 2 pm. One of the placards read that while people are suffering from unemployment, the government is busy with "jasoosi" (spying). The slogan was in Hindi. Some Congress members were holding placards about Rahul Gandhi's name appearing in the list of potential targets of snooping.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) members alleged that party MP Abhishek Banerjee's phone number was selected for surveillance. Abhishek Banerjee is the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
YSRCP members also flagged the issue of special status for Andhra Pradesh. Speaker Om Birla said it is not right to disrupt the House and the government is ready to give answers on any matter. "Please go back to your seats. I will facilitate a debate on every issue. (But) sloganeering is not right. The government is ready to debate on whatever issues you want to debate on," he said.
Former IT minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe a government white paper in Parliament explicitly stating whether the Israeli spyware was used by it or not.
The phone numbers of former JNU students Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Banjyotsana Lahiri and several prominent Indian activists are among those listed as the potential targets of Israeli spyware Pegasus, an international media consortium reported on Tuesday.