New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the story around the usage of Pegasus spyware for snooping is “fake news” and accused the Opposition of maligning the image of the country.
Addressing a press conference today, BJP MP and Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi also hit out at Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Santanu Sen for snatching papers from Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw who was making a statement in Rajya Sabha.
“The fact is that the story that is floating around about Pegasus is a fake story. Amnesty International has said the list which is circulating is not an actual list… This kind of the story is being floated to desensitise the public on the credibility of the democratic structure and to malign the image of the country. NSO and Amnesty International has denied the list but still, the Opposition has continued to disrupt the house on the basis of the fake list,” she said.
The BJP MP said ten countries have been named in the spyware issue, but the Opposition in other countries haven’t reacted the way it has.
“Today in the House, one of the members snatched papers from the Minister who was making the statement. This sort of behaviour is something which democracy has never seen and we have seen earlier how they conducted themselves when the PM was addressing and introducing the new ministers in the Parliament,” she said.
“The Opposition especially members of TMC and Congress stooped so low, they will do things to damage country’s reputation,” she added.
The minister said these kinds of stories are floated to undermine Indian institutions and stop data protection, that is set to become the law of the land.
“This is to desensitise the public of the credibility of the structures and to malign the image of our country,” she said.
The names of several Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi and 40 Indian journalists appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware, according to a report published in The Wire on Sunday.
Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on the first day of the Monsoon Session on July 19, had said that it is an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.