TMC’s Santanu Sen snatches Pegasus statement from Vaishnaw, tears paper

High drama ensued in the Rajya Sabha today after Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Santanu Sen snatched and tore Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s statement on the alleged snooping using an Israeli company spyware Pegasus.

Following this, there was a verbal feud between the BJP and the Trinamool MPs. Marshals intervened to bring the situation under control.

TMC and other opposition party members trooped into the well of the House when Vaishnaw was called to make a statement over the Pegasus spyware controversy.

They shouted slogans and tore papers that appeared to be copies of the statement that the minister was to make.

As papers were flung into the air, the minister could not complete his statement and instead laid a copy of it on the table of the House and said, “A highly sensational story was published by a web portal on July 18, 2021. Many over-the-top allegations made around this story. The press reports appeared a day before monsoon session of Parliament. This can’t be a coincidence.”

Heated words were exchanged between Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Santanu Sen after the latter snatched a paper from the Union IT Minister while he was speaking on ‘Pegasus Project’ report in Rajya Sabha.

‘Unseemly behaviour’

Speaking to news agency ANI, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta said, “It seems that some people of Opposition, notably some of the TMC MPs, got up and took the paper from the hands of the IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw while he was speaking on ‘Pegasus’ and tore it up. This is completely unseemly behaviour.”

“He was making a statement, you had a right to question him after that but instead of going in for a debate, is this the type of hooliganism we see inside the House? This is completely against all norms, I think it should be condemned outright,” Dasgupta added.

Vaishnaw was reading the Central Government’s statement on the Pegasus issue in Rajya Sabha.

The Centre will likely bring a privilege motion against the TMC MPs who misbehaved with Vaishnaw while he was reading the statement on the ‘Pegasus Project’ report in Rajya Sabha, reports ANI.

“When they can kill their opponents in Bengal and misbehave with women, they can do anything. Today they snatched paper and tore it, it won’t be a surprise if they tear clothes tomorrow. I condemn it,” said Mahesh Poddar, BJP MP.

Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh asked members to desist from unparliamentary behaviour, before adjourning the proceedings of the House for the rest of the day.

Opposition MPs had stalled the proceedings in the earlier part of the day as well, forcing two adjournments with not even officially listed papers being allowed to be laid.

They shouted slogans over the alleged snooping using Pegasus spywareand other issues.

The Opposition has alleged that names of several Indian politicians, journalists, lawyers, and activists have appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware.

With agency inputs

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