A political row over the Ministry of Home Affairs’ newest notification authorizing 10 central agencies to intercept “any information” on computers erupted on Friday with opposition parties stating the order as unconstitutional, undemocratic and an assault on fundamental rights. Accusing the Centre of snooping on citizens, political leaders attacked the Centre and stated that the country was turning into a surveillance state under the Narendra Modi government.
The order states the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and Commissioner of Police, Delhi to intercept information stored on any computer device.
Tweeting to Twitter, Congress lashed out at 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 micro-blogging site.
Veteran Congress leader P Chidambaram also condemned the order which, he claimed, is applicable in an “Orwellian state”. “If anybody is going to monitor the computer, comprising your computer, that is the Orwellian state. George Orwell is around the corner. It is condemnable,” he said.
His party colleague Anand Sharma said the BJP government is changing India into a surveillance state through the order. “It is the ultimate assault on fundamental rights and the right to privacy. It is also in direct conflict with the Supreme Court judgment that the right to privacy is a fundamental right. The government has done it by strength we collectively oppose it,” Sharma told reporters with other opposition leaders by his side in the national capital.