Pegasus heat in Parliament again: Govt says it’s no-issue

Amid opposition protests and sloganeering in Lok Sabha, two Bills were introduced before the House was adjourned

Parliament
Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been rocked by Opposition protests since the Monsoon session commenced on July 19

Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned again on Friday after vociferous protests over the Pegasus spying row and the three new farm laws.

Two bills were introduced before House proceedings were adjourned for the day amid continued opposition protests. Amid continuous protests by Opposition members, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the Pegasus controversy was a ‘non-issue’ and that the government was ready for discussions on people-related issues.

While describing the Oppositions behaviour as ‘unfortunate’, Joshi said that IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had already given ‘a detailed statement’ on the issue in both the Houses. Joshi said the protests are over a ‘ non-serious issue’.

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Also read: Ministry officials skip Pegasus meet at last minute, irk Tharoor

The House proceedings were first adjourned till 12 noon when the Question Hour was in progress. During the Question Hour, Opposition members raised slogans and displayed placards as they protested on Pegasus spyware controversy and other issues.

When the House reassembled at noon, two bills namely, The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021, and the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, were introduced amid the din.

Rajendra Agrawal, who was chairing the proceedings, then asked protesting members to go back to their respective seats as a discussion on the COVID-19 situation was scheduled. But the protests still continued and the discussion on COVID-19 couldn’t be held as the House was adjourned for the day.

Lok Sabha proceedings will now be held on August 2 after the routine weekend break.

Chidambaram slams Centre

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday attacked the government over the Pegasus snooping allegations, asking whether it will give up its ‘ostrich-like attitude’ and agree to the Oppositions demand for a full discussion in Parliament on the issue.

Attacking the government, Chidambaram said another case of misuse of Pegasus spyware has been revealed now with France’s national cybersecurity agency confirming that Pegasus spyware was infiltrated into phones belonging to two journalists of Mediapart, an investigative journal based in France.

Also read: Chaos in Parliament again: Pegasus row, farm laws leave govt on backfoot

“Mediapart is the media organization that broke the story that the Rafale aircraft deal was being probed in France,” the former home minister said. “Will the government give up its ostrich-like attitude and agree to the Oppositions demand for a full discussion in Parliament on misuse of Pegasus spyware in India? How long can the government duck and hide and scoot when all that the Opposition wants is a full debate?” Chidambaram said in a series of tweets.

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been rocked by Opposition protests since the Monsoon session commenced on July 19.

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