Hyderabad: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has condemned the extra-judicial surveillance on journalists, human rights activists and other regime critics and demanded a high-level inquiry into the Pegasus report either by a Joint Parliamentary Committee or any other agency monitored by the Supreme Court. The revelations by Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based non-profit organisation, are highly disturbing as they indicate a no-holds-barred snooping into the lives of citizens undermining the very basis for democracy, IJU president K Sreenivas Reddy and secretary-general Balwinder Singh Jammu said on Wednesday in a statement.
"Illegal snooping on its own citizens by the State is invasion of privacy and much more as it demonstrates the classical characteristic of an Orwellian State which will have a serious chilling effect and numbs society." "The government's denial that illegal surveillance was not possible in India holds no water", the IJU leaders said and referred to the immediate initiation of an inquiry by the French government into similar revelations in that country. Flagging the issue of lack of accountability and proper legal framework for intelligence agencies in the country, they said "it is high time the government had a comprehensive overhaul of the entire surveillance mechanism and provide a fresh frame work for it within the contours of the 2017 K S Puttaswamy verdict of the Supreme Court.