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Pegasus row rocks Parliament as TMC MP tears IT Minister’s statement

The Pegasus row continued to rock Parliament with Union Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday making a statement in the Rajya Sabha denouncing reports that the spyware could have been used to snoop on Opposition leaders, activists and others, and the Opposition forcing repeated adjournments of the House. The afternoon session of the Upper House witnessed some charged moments as Opposition MPs led by Trinamool MP Santanu Sen rushed to the well of the House and tore the minister’s statement.

Both Houses of the Parliaments were adjourned following sloganeering by opposition members over various issues, including the farm laws and the Pegasus snooping case.

Opposition MPs, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led protests against the newly implemented farm laws at the Gandhi statue inside the Parliament’s premises on Thursday. For the first time since the vandalism at Red Fort on January 26, a small group from among the farmers camping at Delhi’s borders were allowed to enter the city to commence a protest at Jantar Mantar.

Outside the Parliament, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that if farmer unions pointed out their objections to the provisions of the three farm laws they were protesting against, the government would be ready to discuss them with an “open mind”.

The Centre on Tuesday told the Rajya Sabha that no deaths due to lack of oxygen were “specifically reported” by states and union territories during the second Covid-19 wave that hit the country.

“All states and UTs report cases and deaths to the Union Health Ministry on a regular basis. However, no deaths due to lack of oxygen have been specifically reported by states and UTs,” she said.

Shortly after the statement by the Centre was made in a written reply by the Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar, AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal accused the minister of having “misled” the house. Describing the statement as “condemnable”, Venugopal, a Rajya Sabha MP to whose question the reply was given, said he will move a privilege motion against the minister.

Snooping row dominates Day 2 proceedings as Oppn demands JPC probe

Protests over the Pegasus snooping row dominated the Lok Sabha proceedings on the second day of the Monsoon session of Parliament, leading to continued disruptions and repeated adjournments of the House on Tuesday.

As soon as the House met for the day at 11 am, Opposition members, including from the Congress and the TMC, raised slogans and showed placards to attack the government on the snooping issue. The proceedings lasted for barely five minutes as the House was adjourned.

One of the placards, written in Hindi, read that while people are suffering from unemployment, the government is busy with “jasoosi” (spying). The same scene was witnessed when the House reassembled at 2 pm and was later adjourned till 11 AM on July 22.

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