The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Wednesday took note of the snooping scandal allegedly involving Amit Shah, a close aide of BJP leader Narendra Modi, and has written to the Gujarat government, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and the father of the woman in the midst of the snooping row.
The NCW wants the Gujarat government to explain whether due process was followed before orders were given to put the woman under 24x7 state surveillance; it has requested Shinde to institute a probe into the surveillance; while it wants the woman’s father to confirm the authenticity of the letter believed to have been sent by him to the NCW on Tuesday.
In the letter, the woman’s father says that his request to Modi to keep an eye on his daughter was done with her knowledge while requesting no further pursuance of the matter.
“We have sent notice to the Gujarat home minister, chief secretary and Amit Shah who was home minister in 2009 when the snooping took place to probe under what circumstances orders were passed, if it violated constitutional rights of privacy and whether state machinery was misused for the purpose,” Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar told HT.
Referring to the letter to Shinde, Prabhavalkar said: “Snooping on a private citizen is tantamount to violation of Indian Telegraph Act which ensures the protection of the liberty of citizens. We want the home ministry to investigate whether the provisions of the Act were violated.”
Shinde, meanwhile, told reporters that the home ministry was collecting information on the allegations and “after that we will look into the matter”. But government sources said the Centre had a limited role to play. “At best, the home ministry can seek a report from the state on the allegation or ask them to act on the NCW letter,” a government source said.
The NCW letter to the woman’s father was necessitated by the lack of information in the letter he is believed to have sent to the women’s body. “Several facts are missing from the letter. We have asked the woman’s father to provide us with more particulars related to the case. The matter is serious as the letter was handed over to a security guard at NCW by an anonymous person last night who handed it over to us today,” the NCW member added. The father has seven days to respond.
Earlier in the day, NCW chief Mamta Sharma told reporters in Rajasthan that following the appeal by the woman’s father reported in the media on Wednesday, the NCW would withdraw the notice it sent to the Gujarat government. But Sharma later clarified that following a discussion with her colleagues, the women’s body decided to go ahead with the notice.