Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today defended the Centre’s decision to monitor computers. Speaking on the issue the minister said that the decision was made keeping national security in mind and that it was made under the law made by the previous government.
“This has been done in national security interest. It has been done under the law made by the Manmohan Singh govt in ’09. Each case of interception and the decision is to be approved Union Home Secretary,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Earlier in the day, the political war of words escalated after the government asked as many as ten central agencies to intercept “any information” on computers. Slamming the government, opposition parties termed the order as undemocratic, unconstitutional and an attack on fundamental rights. A number of political leaders also accused the government of turning the country into a surveillance state under the present regime.
The order by the government has been issued to agencies like the Narcotics Control Bureau, Intelligence Bureau, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), National Investigation Agency, Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu and Kashmir, and North-East ) and Commissioner of Police, Delhi to intercept information stored on any computer.
The main opposition party Congress, while taking to Twitter, slammed the government over its “desperation for information”. “From Modi Sarkar to stalker sarkar, clearly the string of losses has left the BJP government desperate for information,” the party posted on the social media site.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram while condemning the order said as per Indian express, “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,” he said.
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Apart from the Congress, other Opposition parties like Samajwadi Party (SP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) have also hit out at government’s move. SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav called it an unconstitutional order. He urged the government to refrain from taking such moves with just a few months left for Lok Sabha elections.