KATHMANDU, Jan 1: Member of the National Assembly Ram Narayan Bidari said that the proposed 'Nepal Special Service Bill 2019' is aimed at checking the penetration of external intelligence agencies including Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in the country.
"Foreign intelligence agencies CIA and RAW have been interfering in Nepal's internal politics and their activities need to be controlled. I believe that the bill will help to minimize their unwarranted interference in our internal affairs once it is enacted," Bidari, a lawmaker of the ruling Nepal Communist Party said on Wednesday at the National Assembly.
He also said that the Nepal government should have information regarding the secret missions executed by CIA and RAW in the country. "For this, the government should tap phone calls of foreign intelligence agents working in Nepal," he said.
Despite opposition from the main opposition party Nepali Congress, the government on Monday tabled the bill at the National Assembly that allows intelligence agencies including the National Investigation Department to access and gather information relating to suspects.
Addressing the National Assembly meeting, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada defended the bill. He said that the bill aims to strengthen the country's intelligence capabilities to counter threats to national security, sovereignty and integrity.
The bill, which is being discussed at the NA, states that it is necessary to control acts of "secession, espionage, sabotage and subversion" and "protect national sovereignty, national integrity and communal harmony".
As per clause 10 of the bill, an audio or audiovisual conversation at the individual or institutional level that is suspicious can be put under surveillance, monitored or intercepted.
The NC has argued that the bill is against the spirit of the constitution and international principles of freedom.
In the recent National Assembly session, NC lawmaker Prakash Panta said his party was against the proposed law. He claimed that the bill has been introduced with the ill intention of silencing the opponents of the government. He said that the bill is against individuals’ fundamental rights to freedom and privacy. Panta also urged the government to withdraw the bill.