Pegasus row: Opposition MPs protest inside Parliament premises; Piyush Goyal meets Naidu

NEW DELHI: Congress, DMK and Shiv Sena MPs protested against the alleged Pegasus snooping controversy in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue inside Parliament premises on Friday.

The protesting MPs demanded a Supreme Court-monitored judicial probe in this matter.

The MPs carried banners with the slogan “#Pegausus Snoop Gate”.

Earlier on Thursday, TMC MP Santanu Sen snatched the statement on Pegasus matter from Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in Rajya Sabha and tore it into pieces, amid the ongoing standoff over the Pegasus issue between the Centre and Opposition.

The Opposition has alleged that names of several Indian politicians, journalists, lawyers, and activists have appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware. This comes following reports published in The Wire.

Prior to joining the protest, the Congress MPs attended a meeting at Parliamentary Party (CPP) office.

Several Congress leaders, including former party president Rahul Gandhi, staged a protest against the Centre’s farm laws in front of the Gandhi statue in the Parliament premises on Thursday.

Congress held protest marches in different states seeking a Supreme Court-monitored probe into allegations of surveillance using Pegasus spyware.

The party has also demanded the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah.

 Congress MP Deepender Singh Hooda has given a suspension of business notice in Rajya Sabha on Friday on the issue of farmers’ agitation.

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The suspension of business notice has been given under rule 267 of Rajya Sabha proceedings.

Another party MP B Manickam Tagore on Friday has moved a motion of Adjournment of the business in Lok Sabha to discuss over ‘Pegasus Project’ media report.

“I hereby give notice of my intention to ask for leave to move a motion for the adjournment of the business of the house for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent importance namely:- that the house do discuss the recent allegations in the media of the government carrying out spying and online surveillance of several senior Opposition leaders, constitutional authorities, reporters and activists using the Israeli software Pegasus and which could have grave implications for the right to privacy of individuals guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution,” wrote the Congress MP to Lok Sabha Secretary-General.

Leader of House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal on Friday met Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu over the issue of snatching of a paper from the hands of IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and tearing it off by TMC MP Santanu Sen yesterday, said sources.

Deputy Leader of Rajya Sabha Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Minister of State Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan were also present at the meeting.

The development comes after TMC MP Santanu Sen on Thursday snatched the statement on Pegasus matter from Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in Rajya Sabha and tore it into pieces.

Following this, there was a verbal feud between BJP and TMC MPs. Marshals intervened to bring the situation under control.

Heated words were exchanged between Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Sen after the latter snatched a paper from Vaishnaw while he was speaking on the ‘Pegasus Project’ report in Rajya Sabha.