Members of the Indian Youth Congress on Monday staged a protest against the Centre following media reports on the use of Pegasus software to snoop on prominent personalities in the country.
More than 300 verified mobile phone numbers, including of two serving ministers, over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders and one sitting judge besides scores of business persons and activists in India could have been targeted for hacking through an Israeli spyware sold only to government agencies, an international media consortium reported on Sunday.
The government, however, has dismissed allegations of any kind of surveillance on its part on specific people, saying it "has no concrete basis or truth associated with it whatsoever". It has said the allegations just ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament are aimed at maligning Indian democracy.
Led by IYC national president Srinivas BV, the protestors marched towards Parliament House despite the rain. Many protesters were detained by the Delhi Police, an IYC statement claimed.
Criticising the alleged snooping, the statement quoting Srinivas alleged that spying was a tactic prevalent during India's "British days".
"During the British days, their business was 'spying', even today when they have gone, the business of 'spying' continues. When will they improve?," the statement quoting Srinivas alleged.
Srinivas demanded a JPC and Supreme Court-monitored investigation into the spying case, saying the IYC would continue its protests unless "the people involved in the spying case are punished." "After seven years, we got to know that through Pegasus he (PM Modi) was listening to 'Mann Ki Baat' while sitting in WhatsApp," the statement quoting Srinivas alleged.
Among those who participated in the protest include, national general secretary of youth Congress and Delhi In-charge Bhaiya Pawar, Delhi Youth Congress State President Rannvijay Lochav, Chhattisgarh Youth Congress President Coco Padhi among others, the statement added.