News website The Wire reported on Wednesday that All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) chief advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya was targeted in 2018-2019 for surveillance using Israeli firm NSO’s Pegasus software. AASU led the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Assam.
Mr. Bhattacharya said he was “shocked and shocked” after his name appeared on the list, adding, “There are two basic questions. First, a foreign country, using Israeli spyware to spy on Indians with the consent of our government. Which is an attack on our democracy and thus kills our democracy. Through this they are killing the rights of the people and this is not acceptable.”
“It is unconstitutional,” Mr Bhattacharya told NDTV.
He said, “If this spyware is working without the help of our government, then it is an even bigger threat to our national security. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister should speak up.”
The list of names released also includes Anoop Chetia, leader of the pro-talk faction of the banned United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), who is seen as a staunch critic of the Center on the issue of Citizenship Amendment Act.
Mr. Chetia said that he did not understand the reason behind his name appearing in the list.
Mr Chetia told NDTV, “I have been a participant in the peace process with the government since 2016 and have never been involved in any anti-India activity, I don’t know why they are taping me and spying on me. “
He said, “An operative from a foreign country is doing it and if the Indian government has allowed it, they should explain why Pegasus was chosen for this espionage. In a democratic nation, it is for the people.” It is against the rights”, he said.
Some other prominent names on the Pegasus list include Atem Vashum, Apam Muivah, Anthony Shimre and Phunthing Shimrang, a prominent member of the Isaac-Muiva faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM). The group is in talks with the government and in 2015 signed a framework agreement.