Commenting on Centre's surveillance order, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “converting India into a police state.”
“Converting India into a police state isn’t going to solve your problems, Modi Ji. It’s only going to prove to over 1 billion Indians, what an insecure dictator you really are,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday questioned the Centre's move to authorise 10 central agencies to intercept "any information" on computers. She sought public opinion on the same.
"I have come to know that the Union Home Ministry has issued an order yesterday authorising 10 central agencies to carry out interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource," she tweeted.
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"If it is for National Security, then only for that purpose central government already has the machinery. But, why all commoners will be affected? Public Opinion please...," Banerjee added.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has allowed 10 investigating agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt "any information" generated, transmitted, received or stored in "any computer".
It has also empowered the Delhi Police to do the same. The move has come under attack from opposition parties.
Under opposition attack, the government on Friday defended its order on monitoring and intercepting any computer by central investigative and security agencies, saying it was a mere repetition of an order of authorisation issued under rules framed during the UPA regime in 2009.
Intervening in the Rajya Sabha amidst protests and slogan shouting by opposition members on the issue, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused the Congress of playing with the security of the country and making "a mountain where even a molehill does not exist."
"On December 20, the same order of authorisation was repeated that was existing since 2009," he said referring to Thursday's order of the Home Ministry that ten central security and intelligence agencies including the IB and RAW and Delhi Police can intercept, monitor and decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource under the Information and Technology Act, 2000.
The minister also responded to remarks of Congress leader Anand Sharma made outside the House in which he had accused the government of making the country a surveillance state.
"And what you are doing, Anand Sharma, is making a mountain where even a molehill does not exist."
Jaitley said the NDA government has used the same rules which were made by the UPA government in 2009 for agencies concerning issues of national security.
(With inputs from agencies)