Even as the Pegasus snoop gate propaganda peddled by vested foreign interests fell flat with no takers or proof, the Maharashtra government seems to be still afraid of a potential threat of being spied on and has now announced a series of “safety” protocols to be followed by the officials.
According to the reports, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra has now laid down protocols for using electronic gadgets such as mobile phones and has asked officials to restrict its usage. The Maharashtra government has come up with nine protocols for its officials, which according to them if followed, would keep them protected from snooping.
The list of protocols to be followed by the Maharashtra officials are:
- The state government has asked government staffers to maintain protocol while using phones during office hours.
- The officials should use landlines on priority and should use mobile phones only when there is important work.
- Officials should speak briefly, courteously, maintaining decorum.
- Officials should not fight and argue on phone.
- Officials should answer phone calls of people’s representatives and senior officials on priority.
- Officials should go out of the cabin to attend to urgent personal calls.
- Officials must put phones on silent mode during meetings with seniors.
- Officials should not use earphones during meetings.
- Officials should not switch off phones during official tours.
The Uddhav Thackeray government’s decision to enforce protocols for its public officials comes as a knee-jerk reaction to the ongoing Pegasus snoop-gate controversy. Perhaps, Uddhav Thackeray-led government has been considering the snooping hoax as a serious affair and it is taking steps to prevent any alleged ‘snooping’ on them.
However, the fear-mongering by the Maharashtra government is unwarranted as Pegasus snoop gate has turned out to be another dud as there is no substantial evidence to prove that anybody in the country was snooped on. Initially, in India, there was a bit of noise surrounding the controversy, with far-left websites claiming that some alleged activists, journalists, politicians were all spied on by the Indian government using spyware Pegasus.
However, neither Amnesty International, which released the so-called list of ‘potential targets’ in the first place and the left-wing media outlets failed to provide any proof to back the claim.
In fact, the timing of this so-called exposes is rather looked at as an effort by adversarial governments to peddle their usual anti-India propaganda and coerce pliable journalists to follow their diktats, given that the Pegasus spyware was in possession of foreign governments as well. Despite having no concrete evidence of being spied upon, the Maharashtra government seems to be forcing its officials to follow stricter rules out of sheer panic and fear.