The opposition parties led by the Congress have strongly opposed the government’s move to authorise 10 Central agencies to intercept “any information” on computers, describing it as unconstitutional, undemocratic and an assault on fundamental rights.
The parties, including the CPI(M), the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Trinamool Congress, said they will collectively oppose the Union Home Ministry’s order issued on Thursday. The BJP government, opposition leaders said, was converting the country into a surveillance state.
“From Modi Sarkar to stalker sarkar, clearly the string of losses has left the BJP government desperate for information,” the Congress said on its official Twitter handle.
The order authorises 10 Central agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate to intercept, monitor, and decrypt “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer’.
Several Congress leaders spoke out against the order. “If anybody is going to monitor the computer, including your computer, that is the Orwellian state. George Orwell is around the corner. It is condemnable,” said the party’s leader P Chidambaram.
His party colleague Anand Sharma said the BJP government is converting India into a surveillance state through the order. “It is the ultimate assault on fundamental rights and the right to privacy. It is also in direct conflict with the Supreme Court judgement that right to privacy is a fundamental right. The government has done it by strength we collectively oppose it,” Sharma told reporters with other opposition leaders by his side. He said it gives ultimate powers to state agencies to monitor every information and intercept it through surveillance, which is unacceptable.
The Congress’ Randeep Surjewala said the government was brazenly flouting privacy laws. “Modi Govt mocks and flouts Fundamental ‘Right to Privacy’ with brazen impunity! Having lost elections,now Modi Govt wants to scan/snoop YOUR computers? ‘Big Brother Syndrome’ is truly embedded in NDA’s DNA!” he said.