Pressure mounts for PM Modi on Pegasus reports: Will he meet the demand from BJP MP Subramanian Swamy?

Pegasus spyware has been escalating tensions in India with the ruling Modi regime has been attacked by the rebelling opposition leaders after the spyware has gone awry in the country by targeting and spying on hundreds of Indians including Union Ministers, Opposition leaders, journalists, activists, and the spying racket had also breached the lines of the judiciary by spying a judge. 

The revelation of what has been called as government-sponsored spying was brought to light by the consortium of the international media as the 'Pegasus project'. The stunning reports had exhumed the database that had over 50,000 phone numbers across the globe that were targeted by the spyware, that is only sold to the governments. The consortium has highlighted that over 300 Indians were believed to have gone susceptible for the massive spying drive, which has gone overwhelming during the Modi regime. 

As the Pegasus snooping list, which shocked the entire country over the flawed use of surveilling technologies, had stirred a political storm and debate in India, the matter has become the point of discussion in the ongoing monsoon session of the Parliament. The snooping list was released on Sunday, a day ahead of the commencement of the session. The opposition parties, that had packed a pile of issues to discuss in the Parliament, had added the Pegasus spying row and brought it to the front of both the chambers by directly blaming Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for spying on their fellow ministers, opposition leaders, journalists, and activists. 

Though the Union government has denied such spying drive and called the Pegasus project an attempt to malign Indian democracy, the opposition leaders express their outrage over violating privacy and expanding the realm of spying across all the spheres. Amid the ongoing tensions and mounting pressure, the Modi government has invited fresh trouble from senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who said it's the duty of the Modi government to tell the people of India about the Pegasus snooping list. On Tuesday, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy had urged the Modi government to come clean on the spyware. 

Taking to Twitter, Subramanian Swamy wrote, "It is quite clear that Pegasus Spyware is a commercial company which works on paid contracts. So the inevitable question arises on who paid them for the Indian "operation". If it is not Govt of India, then who? It is the Modi government's duty to tell the people of India". The Congress party has accused the Modi government of treason and held Home Minister Amit Shah responsible for the snooping and hacking of phones of over 40 journalists and others. The grand old party has urged a probe into the role of the Prime Minister in the state-sponsored espionage. 

The Pegasus project had also stirred shockwaves across the globe. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has said that the spying on journalists, human rights defenders, and politicians is 'extremely alarming'. The rights chief had urged the governments to cease their own use of surveillance technologies. Pegasus, developed by an Israeli-based NSO Group, has stirred a global concern and debate over the illicit use of the spyware by the regimes.

In a statement, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged the governments to cease their own use of surveillance technologies in ways that violate human rights, and should take concrete actions to protect against such invasions of privacy by regulating the distribution, use, and export of surveillance technology created by others. She said that journalists and human rights defenders play an indispensable role in societies and cited that everyone will suffer when the journalists are silenced.

Bachelet said, "Revelations regarding the apparent widespread use of the Pegasus software to spy on journalists, human rights defenders, politicians, and others in a variety of countries are extremely alarming, and seem to confirm some of the worst fears about the potential misuse of surveillance technology to illegally undermine people's human rights." "Use of surveillance software has been linked to arrest, intimidation, and even killings of journalists and human rights defenders. Reports of surveillance also have the invidious effect of making people censor themselves through fear", she added.