Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha adjourned following furore on Pegasus and farmer issues

Govt releases Amnesty International’s Kim Zetter’s letter stating that the list of potential spyware targets was indicative of the interests of NSO, Pegasus’s clients

Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha adjourned following furore on Pegasus and farmer issues

Photo for representation only

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22

Parliament remained disrupted on Pegasus snooping row and farmers’ issues for the third day on Thursday with the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha adjourned twice first till noon and then till 2 pm.

Opposition MPs stormed the Well, flashing placards in front of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, who repeatedly asked the members to return to the seats saying the government was willing to discuss anything as per rules.

“This is not right, this is a wrong practice. This Parliament is yours. The onus of retaining its glory is on you. If you don’t do that democracy will not be strengthened. I am ready to get discussion done on the issue that’s agitating you,” said the Speaker, but to no avail.

Congress, TMC and Left parties were seen storming the Well agitating on issues of farmers and against the alleged snooping of Indian individuals using a foreign spyware.

In Rajya Sabha too, the opposition MPs forced two adjournments and the House was adjourned within a minute of assembling at 11 am.

Later, when the RS reassembled, the Opposition MPs continued to raise slogans against the alleged snooping controversy.

In the ruckus, the deputy chairman sought laying of the parliamentary committee reports that could not be laid at the scheduled hour in the morning due to opposition protests.

Soon after, he adjourned the proceedings for the day.

When the Lok Sabha reassembled at noon after the first adjournment the government said it was ready for any discussion.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said, “Rajya Sabha has already discussed Covid. Despite our assurances the opposition here is disrupting the question hour which is a right of the members. Disrupting the proceedings when government is ready for discussion is not right. Tell us on what issue you want a discussion. We will discuss.”

Presiding officer LS Bhartruhari Mahtab urged MPs to go to their seats and allow the House to function but had to again adjourn the proceedings till 2 pm amid pandemonium.

Later, the Lok Sabha was adjourned till tomorrow amid continued protests by Opposition members against the "three black farm laws".

Earlier on Thursday, senior adviser to Information and Broadcasting Ministry Kanchan Gupta cited media reports quoting Amnesty International as saying that the list of potential spyware targets was indicative of the interests of Israel Dir NSO, Pegasus’s clients.

Amnesty has never presented this list as NSO’s Pegasus spyware list although some of the world’s media may have done so, an investigation by cyber journalist Kim Zetter, which Gupta quoted, said.

Gupta tweeted Zetter’s reports saying, “Laughable 'snooping' story was spun around an 'indicative' list manufactured by Amnesty Int. Amnesty has never presented this list as NSO's Pegasus Spyware List...Amnesty makes clear this is a list *indicative* of the interests of (Pegasus) clients."

The Left is seeking a JPC in the snooping row while the Congress and TMC have demanded a Supreme Court-led investigation.

The government has denied the charges as sensational calling the reports by an international media consortium a “global conspiracy”.

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