India’s opposition, since 2014, has had a thing for proof. Whether it be the benefits of demonetisation and GST or the surgical and air strikes on Pakistan, opposition parties have always demanded proof. In hindsight, they don’t seem to take anything at face value. They rely heavily on facts and available evidence to support their assertions. That is what you’d think, right? Well, hold on to your breath, because just like the country’s opposition cabal created a fictitious Rafale “scam” out of thin air to accuse the Modi government of corruption, it has now been harping on the baseless ‘Pegasus’ ‘scandal’ to revive its electoral fortunes.
Does India – a country of 1.3 billion people, care about a scandal like ‘Pegasus’? Do the vast portions of India’s rural and semi-urban populace understand what the opposition is accusing the Modi government of with its incessant attacks based on the ‘Pegasus scandal’? No.
Still, state surveillance can and should not be normalised. If the government is snooping on dissident citizens – that’s highly condemnable. You would think there’s evidence of the Modi government spying on citizens, right? Here’s some breaking news for you – there is none.
No Evidence Turns Up at Supreme Court’s Door
In October last year, the Supreme Court of India (SC), while hearing the Pegasus issue had constituted a Technical Committee under former SC judge R V Raveendran to investigate the allegation that the government had used the advanced Israeli spyware to snoop on its citizens. This committee had issued a public notice on January 2 this year, calling upon all the citizens who suspected their mobile devices to have been hacked/infected/compromised by the Pegasus software to come forward.
More than a month since this notice, only two members have submitted their mobile devices to the Committee. Interestingly, according to a petition filed before the Supreme Court, Pegasus spyware was used to conduct surveillance on about 300 Indians, including two serving Cabinet ministers, three Opposition leaders, a Constitutional authority, government officials, scientists, and about 40 journalists. Did any of these individuals appear before the technical committee and provide their devices for an investigation into the matter? No.
Observing the dismal response of ‘victims’ of Pegasus to the call by the committee to come forward, the panel issued another public notice on Thursday. In the new notice, however, the committee said it would take the “digital image” of the device being submitted, “in presence of the person producing the instrument” and would immediately return the device to that person. Now, the committee has extended the date for potentially infected devices to be presented before it to February 8.
Pegasus snooping allegations have been central to the Modi-hating cabal for quite some time. But the propaganda surrounding the matter falls flat on its face time and again. It has become something like the Rafale issue, which was the only thing that PM Modi’s opponents could talk about before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but could never provide any proof in the matter. Now too, there is absolutely no proof that the government was spying upon journalists and politicians.
Without any concrete facts and proof; merely working on guesswork, insinuations, and false hunches – leftist portals and opposition parties are milking the Pegasus malware ‘scandal’ to full effect. Yet, the battles they pick against the Modi government do not resonate with the Indian public. People who think they are being spied on should have been rushing to the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Committee by now. The fact that they are not, really tells you all you need to know about the Pegasus fiasco, and how it’s all a load of bunkum.