Snooping row: Khurshid voices fears of totalitarian control

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Wednesday held out the spectre of an Orwellian society of totalitarian control creeping into India, an allusion to the snooping row involving the Gujarat Police.

    “Is this the country we live in? Is this the kind of country we want to live in where government agencies are chasing you around, monitoring calls,” Khurshid asked when queried by reporters on the snooping scandal allegedly involving Amit Shah, an aide of BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

    “It is very easy to find out what people are doing, we’re an open society. We should put restrictions on ourselves to ensure that that we don’t interfere in the lives of ordinary people, private citizens that do not affect national security,” Khurshid said on the sidelines of a conference organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    “It should only be done in cases of paramount national importance,” he added.

    Reacting to the letter the father of the woman in the centre of the controversy wrote to the National Commission for Women that he had requested Modi for surveillance on his daughter Khurshid said the individual’s rights were paramount in such situations.

    “As far as snooping, stalking is concerned, I’m sorry, the father, the brother, the sister or the mother has no right. The individual is individual first and then comes the family,” the external affairs minister said.

    Asked whether some national interest was involved in the episode, Khurshid said the people involved should honestly speak about what they had done.

    “People who are saying they have done no wrong should tell us what was the national interest involved,” he said.