‘Instruct govt to discuss farmers’ issues, Pegasus in Parl’

New Delhi, Jul 27 (PTI): Seven opposition parties have written to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking his intervention to direct the government to discuss farmers’ issues and Pegasus spyware report in the ongoing Monsoon session of Parliament as they apprised him of these “two disturbing developments”.
The BSP, RLP, SAD, National Conference, CPI and the CPI(M), besides the NCP, are the signatories to the letter. The main opposition party Congress is not among the signatories.
“We members of parliament (MPs) of various political parties are writing to you to seek an appointment to apprise you of two disturbing developments including the complete stonewalling of demands of the peasantry to repeal the three agricultural laws as well as use of Israeli spyware Pegasus to tape telephones of politicians, journalists and activists,” the letter read.
SAD leader Harsimrat Badal said it is “very unfortunate” that farmers have died while protesting against the three farm laws but the Centre is not even ready to discuss their issues.
“You would appreciate that a human tragedy is unfolding on the borders of Delhi with more than 550 farmers already having lost their lives during the course of the ongoing ‘Kisan Andolan’ (farmers’ agitation). The livelihoods of millions more are at stake due to the three agricultural laws which have been made with the express purpose of handing over the agriculture sector to corporations,” the letter to President Kovind said.
Similarly, the use of Pegasus software “to tape telephone numbers of politicians as well as journalists and activists besides known detractors of the NDA government has sent shockwaves amongst civil society,” it said.
It is a known fact that the Israeli company NSO sells the software only to vetted governments and the company has admitted as such, the letter claimed.
“Despite these revelations the union government is refusing to disclose why it had used this software against its own citizens besides disclosing details of the payments made to access the same. The NDA government has also refused to hold a probe into the entire issue,” it said.
“We MPs urge you to intervene personally and direct the government to discuss both issues during the ongoing parliament session in the spirit of a healthy democracy,” the parties said.
Since the beginning of the Monsoon session, the opposition has been disrupting proceedings of both the Houses over these issues.

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