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BJP must explain state-sponsored stalking: Tewari

BJP must explain state-sponsored stalking: Tewari

New Delhi: Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari Saturday attacked the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over the expose about alleged state-sponsored stalking of a young woman and demanded an explanation from BJP president Rajnath Singh.

Attacking Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi without naming him, Tewari said Saturday said "a great evil stalks" the land following an allegation of stalking in Gujarat on the orders of former minister Amit Shah who did it for his "saheb".

"As we go about upholding constitutional values and go about our chores, dark clouds of fascism loom ominously over the horizon, a great evil stalks our land," he said at a seminar in Vigyan Bhavan on the role of media in serving public interest on the occasion of National Press Day.

"The first casualty of the society would be the constriction of liberal space, curtailment of creativity and circumscribing the right to challenge convention and think off the beaten path.

"If the alleged expose about state-sponsored stalking is correct, I would be worried, not as a woman but as a civil libertarian about the Orwellian state that some esteemed gentlemen aim to create," he said.

He was referring to the expose by investigative websites Cobrapost and Gulail about alleged stalking of an unmarried young woman from Bangalore in 2009 under orders from then Gujarat minister of state for home Amit Shah.

According to the expose, the woman's movements and her conversations were being covered by the Gujarat "state Intelligence Bureau, the Crime Branch and the Anti-Terrorist Squad in August 2009 on oral orders, without any valid legal authorisation, and was meant only to serve the interests of someone whom the then minister of state for home, Amit Shah, addressed as 'saheb'."

Later, speaking to journalists, Tewari called for a thorough probe into the entire allegations by Cobrapost and Gulail.

"The BJP president should give a cogent explanation to the expose by and Gulail with regard to the state sponsored stalking," he said.

He wondered why the BJP, which had raised a hue and cry over alleged phone tapping, has gone "completely silent on this alleged state-sponsored stalking".

He said the "irony and intriguing" part is that while the expose did not name the alleged `saheb' the BJP had "come up with trumped up clarifications".

"And what is more intriguing is a statement has come from the father of the lady in question, who was also not named in the expose," he said.

"So is it that the revered father knows certain things that the nation needs to know. It raises certain some very pertinent questions," said Tewari, referring to the father of the unnamed woman who has told the media that he "personally asked Modi to keep a watch on his daughter".

"It raises certain some very fundamental questions to the Orwellian state which the esteemed gentleman who heads Gujarat seeks to construct," he said.

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