AASU, Ulfa leaders also on Pegasus list
- Meanwhile, officials of companies linked to then global farm tech giant Monsanto were also selected as possible candidates for surveillance.
Phone numbers of All Assam Students Union chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya and leader of the pro-talks faction of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa), Anup Chetia, apart from a Manipur writer were potentially targeted for surveillance in 2018-19 using Israeli firm NSO’s Pegasus software, an investigative consortium reported on Wednesday.
Bhattacharya’s phone number was included as a possible target for hacking by the software less than a month before the Union ministry of home affairs announced the reconstitution of a high-level committee to implement a clause of the Assam Accord on July 16, 2019, according to a report by online news portal The Wire, which is part of the 17-member media consortium.
Bhattacharya, who was made a member in this committee, could not be reached for a comment. The agreement, signed by AASU and the central government in 1985, forms the basis for notifying March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date to grant citizenship in the state.
Chetia said he wasn’t surprised that his name figured in this list. “As a former member of Ulfa, we once indulged in anti-India activities. So, I am not surprised that my name has come up in that list. I am sure my phones are being tracked all the time,” he said.
The third person in the list, as reported by The Wire, has been identified as a Manipuri writer based in Delhi, Malem Ningthouja.
Meanwhile, officials of companies linked to then global farm tech giant Monsanto were also selected as possible candidates for surveillance. The numbers of Mahyco Monsanto Biotech and Monsanto India officials were allegedly targeted in 2018, when the firms came under the scanner over alleged unauthorised sale of GM seeds.