Guwahati: Leader of Opposition in Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia on Monday expressed suspicion that his telephone was being illegally tapped by the BJP-led state government.
The senior Congress leader also claimed that such an act was an attempt to strangle democracy, “which is already in ICU”.
Talking to reporters here, Saikia claimed that the Pegasus spyware controversy had exposed the illegal tapping of phones of important personalities in the country.
The spyware row erupted in July 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, Israeli company NSO Group’s phone hacking software.
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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