Pegasus stalls Parliament again

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party leaders, DMK and other parties MPs stage a protest near the Gandhi statue against Pegasus project, during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Friday
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party leaders, DMK and other parties MPs stage a protest near the Gandhi statue against Pegasus project, during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Friday

Highlights

Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha adjourned amid uproar over snoopgate

New Delhi: The Pegasus row continued to rock Parliament on Friday too, even as the government vehemently denouncing the reports that the spyware could have been used to snoop on Opposition leaders, activists and others.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned till Monday over the protests by Opposition parties over the issue. It all started after Trinamool Congress's Santanu Sen was suspended from Parliament's Monsoon Session, a day after he snatched and tore the Pegasus statement of IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in the Rajya Sabha. Even in the Rajya Sabha, the proceedings were adjourned for the day following protests by Opposition parties.

The Upper House was adjourned four times on Friday amid Opposition uproar for a discussion on the issue.

The Opposition has launched a concerted attack against the Central government inside and outside Parliament over the snoopgate. Demanding a JPC probe into the snooping row, the CPI (M) asked if PM Modi's 2017 visit to Israel had anything to do with the matter. Earlier, hitting out at the government Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the Pegasus spyware "is a weapon classified by Israeli states to use against terrorists". "PM and Home Minister have used Pegasus against us. This has to be investigated and the Home Minister must resign," he added.

Several Opposition MPs, including Congress' Rahul Gandhi, on Friday protested against the government inside Parliament complex over the Pegasus snooping issue and demanded a Supreme Court-monitored judicial probe into the matter.

Besides Gandhi, a host of senior Congress MPs like Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, party's leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, K C Venugopal and Shashi Tharoor, DMK's Kanimozhi and Shiv Sena's Priyanka Chaturvedi, were present during the protest in front of Mahatma Gandhi's statue inside Parliament complex. Carrying a banner which read "#PegasusSnoopGate We demand Supreme Court Monitored Judicial Probe", the MPs raised slogans like "ye jasoosi bandh karo (stop this spying)".

Meanwhile, the Joint Committee of Parliament (JCP) examining the Personal Data Protection Bill was on Friday given an extension till the Winter Session to submit its report. The JCP was constituted in the Lok Sabha in December 2019 and was expected to submit its report in the Budget Session.

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