- Pegasus imprisoned media, judiciary, election commission: Mamata Banerjee
- Mamata called Israeli spyware Pegasus “dangerous” and “savage”
- TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee, Mamata’s cousin was targeted by Pegasus
Bangladesh’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee called on the opposition to unite against the BJP today, pointing to the “threat” posed to democracy by what she called a “surveillance state” in the wake of the Pegasus scandal. The Chief Minister, who addressed people online on Martyr’s Day – a first since her landslide victory in the state elections – said she would go to Delhi on July 27 or 28 and be available for an opposition rally if it is held. A number of opposition leaders heard her speech in Delhi and other cities where it was played live on giant television screens.
“Three things make democracy – media, judiciary and the election commission – and Pegasus has captured all three,” said Ms Banerjee, whose cousin and senior party leader Abhishek Banerjee was also a potential target for surveillance, according to the group of 17. media organizations around the world that have been investigating the leaked surveillance lists.
Ms Banerjee called the Israeli military spyware “dangerous” and “furious,” Ms Banerjee said she can’t talk to other opposition leaders now because her phone is also tapped.
“I can’t talk to you folks. To Sharad Pawar, the Chief Minister of Delhi, the Chief Minister of Goa… I put leucoplast on my (phone) camera. This government should be plastered too,” she said.
She appealed to the Supreme Court to come to the aid of the nation, saying, “Save the country, the democracy. Can’t you take suo motu cognizance if all the phones are tapped? Set up a panel to investigate… Only the judiciary can save country”.
Then, in a relentless attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she said: “Mr. Modi, it doesn’t matter. I’m not attacking you personally. But you and maybe you are the interior minister – you are deploying agencies against opposition leaders. making the agencies.”
She said Prime Minister Modi’s government spent taxpayers’ money on spyware rather than on people’s well-being. ‘Look at the gas prices. The Government of India has collected Rs 3.7 lakh crore from the fuel tax alone. Where does the money go?’ she said.
“There are no vaccines available. You want to create a surveillance state. Ministers’ phones have been tapped. Judges’ phones have been tapped. Pegasus spyware has intercepted the phones of justice, politicians and media,” she added.
“Nowadays, when people want freedoms and progress, good health care, education and jobs, all the central government is interested in is violence, divisive politics, clashes, mistrust among people… this is not what India needs,” she said.
The people of Bengal, she said, want “development, harmony, that’s why the people of Bengal didn’t support you. The whole country, the world, watched the Bengali elections”.