Debabrata Saikia, the leader of the opposition in the Assam Assembly, expressed suspicion on Monday that the BJP-led state government was illegally tapping his phone. According to the top Congress leader, such an act would be an attempt to “strangle democracy, which is already in ICU.”
Speaking to reporters here, Saikia stated that the Pegasus spyware incident had revealed unlawful phone monitoring of major figures in the country. The spyware controversy erupted in July of last year after an international consortium of media outlets and investigative journalists reported that the phones of several Indian ministers, politicians, activists, and journalists were potentially targeted by Pegasus, the phone hacking software developed by Israeli company NSO Group.
“The Pegasus controversy had revealed that the government was tapping phones of leaders of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) movement in Assam. And the Congress had been at the fore of this movement from the beginning,” he said. Saikia said, “I suspect that my phone is being tapped.
The government can tap phones legally as well as illegally. All the government has to say is that it is not doing so illegally.” He had expressed similar apprehensions on Twitter on Sunday. “This isn’t only a gross violation of my fundamental right to privacy, but this govt by tapping the phone of the LOP is making another attempt to strangle democracy, Which is already in ICU,” he had tweeted, tagging Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the post.
In reply to a question, Sarma had on Sunday said though phone tapping is permissible by law, the authorities have to take necessary permission to do so as the government cannot listen to conversations of people at its whims.
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