ULFA leader Chetia says not surprised at possible Pegasus

·2-min read

surveillance, Assam opposition demands judicial probe Guwahati, Jul 21 (PTI) Close on the heels of two phone numbers from Assam figuring in the Pegasus' leaked surveillance database, the opposition on Wednesday demanded a judicial enquiry to probe the causes behind the invasive surveillance.

One of those purportedly under surveillance, ULFA (pro-talk) General Secretary Anup Chetia said he was not surpirsed that he may have been targete by the spyware.

'It was natural that the security agencies would tap our phones. We have to see our past. We fought against the state and declared a war against India. However, I don't know if Pegasus infected my phone or not,' the insurgent leader, who is now part of a dialogue process, told PTI.

In its latest series expose on the Pegasus phone surveillance episode, The Wire on Wednesday said phone numbers of two prominent Assamese personalities also figured in the list of around 50,000 numbers worldwide.

All Assam Students' Union (AASU) Chief Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya and Chetia's numbers are part of the list, which was exposed and analysed by a global alliance of media publications. Bhattacharya was not immediately available for comments.

It is noteworthy that both Chetia and Bhattacharya were vocal about their opposition to the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

Meanwhile, the Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia on Wednesday demanded a high-level judicial probe into the entire phone surveillance issue.

He also slammed Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who on Tuesday demanded a ban on human rights organisation Amnesty International's activities in India for its role in the Pegasus snooping controversy.

'If there is any international conspiracy or some other countries are involved, then the Indian government should come out publicly with that. If the media alliance is conspiring to defame India, then take action against them also.

'What is the point of making rhetorical statements on such a sensitive issue? The Indian government is just trying to deviate the peoples' attention from the real issue of intruding on the privacy of its own citizens,' the senior Congress leader said.

Raijor Dal on the other hand sought a probe by a joint parliamentary committee to reveal the root of the controversy.

In a statement, the Akhil Gogoi-led party alleged that the BJP government through Pegasus spyware has attacked all four pillars of democracy as the list contains phone numbers of a cross section of people.

A global media consortium has recently reported that over 300 verified mobile phone numbers, including of two central ministers, over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders besides scores of business persons and activists in India, could have been targeted for hacking using the Israeli spyware Pegasus, which is usually supplied to government agencies.

The Indian government and Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, which sells Pegasus spyware worldwide, have separately refuted the reports. PTI TR JRC JRC

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting