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Congress, BJP spar over Gujarat snooping row

Congress, BJP spar over Gujarat snooping row

New Delhi: A war of words broke out Sunday between the Congress and the BJP over allegations of snooping on a young woman by Gujarat Police.

While the Congress demanded a probe by a sitting Supreme Court judge into the matter, the Bharatiya Janata Party dismissed the allegations, claiming it was the Congress which was invading the girl's privacy.

According to investigative reports on two websites, three key wings of Gujarat Police misused their powers to stalk an unmarried young woman from Bangalore in 2009 under orders from then minister of state for home Amit Shah, who reportedly put the woman under surveillance for his "saheb".

Union ministers Girija Vyas and Jayanthi Natarajan and party leaders Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Shobha Oza said the honour and dignity of every woman in India was at stake, in the backdrop of "the serious issue in which a young woman was stalked, followed, spied upon during her every waking act by no less than an entire anti-terror squad of Gujarat Police".

"Under what provision of the law was the Indian Telegraph Act violated? Who should be punished for these violations," Jayanthi Natarajan demanded to know, speaking at a press conference here.

She said an independent inquiry should be held by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court into the allegations so that "no further harm and violence is done to the Indian constitution and the women of India, above all, are safe".

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari tweeted: "State sponsored stalking akin to state intruding into people's bedrooms. Would you live in a society where state stalks your wives and daughters?"

The BJP on its part said: "They (Congress) are making a political case out of protection offered to a girl. If someone invaded that woman's private life it is Congress."

BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said: "Under the law, someone can approach the court and the authority if their rights are being violated. It was the girl's right which was being violated, did she approach the court? And as Indian society is, the father, the brother, the husband will do everything to protect the honour of the girl".

"It is exactly how the state acted at that time. They (Congress) have no idea what kind of danger she was facing. Her father had asked the government to protect her," Lekhi said.


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