At the forefront of protests against what is being called the Government's "snooping" orders, Communist Party of India National President D. Raja says that it was time for all Opposition parties to come together as the BJP-led government will use it as a weapon to dub people anti-national just like in the Bhima-Koregaon case. In an interview to Sreeparna Chakrabarty, Mr Raja says that the Modi government was rattled by the series on electoral set-backs and was thus resorting to such measures.
Q: What your opinion on the recent order authorising agencies to access data from citizen's computers?
A: This is completely unconstitutional and shows the BJP's scant regard for democratic norms. This is in fact highly condemnable and violates the minimum democratic rights of the citizens. This can lead to people being branded as terrorists and anti-nationals at random.
This is what happened in Bhima-Koregaon. Though we do not know what actually was found, it was violative of fundamental rights to privacy which is guaranteed in our Constitution.
After all India is a country which believes in the rule of law. It guarantees freedom of expression. This will be an attack on people living in peace. They are all creating a scary situation and will pay for it.
Q: But the government is saying that in 2009 it was the UPA which brought it in.
A: They why are they bringing in the notification now? They must explain. Even on the word Dalit if you remember, it was a state high court which had passed an observation and the Union Home Ministry and the information and broadcasting ministry brought in an advisory saying that the word should be avoided and Scheduled Caste should be used instead.
Q: Will the Opposition parties now come together and protest against the notification?
A: Yes. Not only our party, but all parties which believe in democracy should come together. This is a massive attack on the freedom of speech and expression.
The BJP it seems is rattled by the defeat in the recent round of Assembly polls. Just see the way Mr Modi keeps on talking about GST now. Why are they saying no data is available on jobs? BJP is rattled. It wants to snoop against its own citizens.
Q: Do you think, the Parliament would be able to function when it meets again after Christmas break?
A: Parliament should function and the Opposition should be allowed to raise the issue. The problem is that the treasury benches are not interested in running the Parliament. This issue is sure to be taken up in the Parliament. How can Opposition parties be quiet when the common citizens of this country are being attacked in this manner.
Q: What else will the Opposition do to keep this issue alive?
A: Even when the Parliament is over, we will ensure that this remains one of the main issues for 2019 polls. This will be one of the chief poll planks for us in the run-up to 2019.