A protest march was held by Congress leaders from Vidhana Soudha to Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the Karnataka Governor.

DK Shivakumar
news Pegasus Row Thursday, July 22, 2021 - 18:19

The Congress leaders in Karnataka held a protest in Bengaluru on Thursday, July 22, against the Union government over reports of using Israeli spyware Pegasus for snooping on their leaders. The protest march was held from Vidhana Soudha in the centre of the city to Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the Karnataka Governor. The rally was led by senior Congress leaders from the state, including party state president DK Shivakumar and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. 

In a letter to Karnataka Governor Thawarchand Gehlot, Siddaramaiah called for a judicial inquiry by a sitting Supreme Court judge on spying and surveillance through Pegasus spyware on Indian citizens. In the letter, Siddaramaiah referenced the toppling of the JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka in 2019 and said that the investigative reports had linked phone numbers of political associates of the Congress to surveillance using the software. 

Reports had claimed that the Pegasus spyware, created by NSO Group based in Israel, was used to target phones of several journalists, politicians, activists and even a former Supreme Court staffer who alleged sexual harassment against former Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi. NSO Group said it sells the spyware to “vetted governments” around the world. 

"Our democracy has been repeatedly assaulted by the BJP government, with the latest being the Pegasus spying attack, showing how morally bankrupt this government is! Protested against the same at Mahatma Gandhi's Statue at Vidhana Soudha before laying siege at Governor house, alongside Congress leaders," DK Shivakumar said in a tweet following the protest on Thursday morning. 

The protest at the Vidhana Soudha with senior Congress leaders then spilt onto the streets with Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar leading the group. Congress members and leaders chanted slogans. "Down, down, BJP, a party that is opposing judicial independence and throwing the Constitution in the air," senior leader Krishna Byre Gowda, who is the MLA of Byatarayanapura constituency in Bengaluru, could be heard saying.

The protests came on a day when Congress held a series of protests across India against the Pegasus ‘snoopgate.’ A protest was held by journalists in Delhi's Press Club of India over the same issue. 

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