Guwahati: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday demanded a total ban on Amnesty International in the country.
Amnesty International said that several journalists, politicians, human rights lawyers and businessmen across the world including from India were at risk of having their whereabouts monitored, and their personal information and used against them.
A leaked list of “potential” or actual targets for spying by Israeli company NSO’s Pegasus included former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former election commissioner Askhok Lavasa, election strategist Prashant Kishor, Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee and Union Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Patel etc.
Sarma said, “It’s just a conspiracy to malign Indian democracy and defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Despite Centre has clarified that it’s false and nothing of such spying has happened, internal groups like Amnesty International has been trying to slam baseless allegations on the government. It’s just a part of a larger conspiracy against India.”
He added, “People of Assam has full faith in Indian’s democracy and Prime Minister Modi. I demand a total ban on Amnesty International’s activities in the country. They are only encouraging left wing terrorism in the country.”
The CM also asked Rahul Gandhi to send his phone to Assam if necessary to run a forensic test on it. “If Rahul Gandhi believes in the Pegasus report then why did not he send his phone for forensic test? In fact, he can send it to Assam and we can run the test. Forensic test will clear all the doubts,” the CM added.
Two mobile phones used by Rahul Gandhi reportedly appeared on the list.
As per the reports, the phones targeted were infiltrated by malicious software called Pegasus, which is sold by the NSO Group. The spyware believed to be able to secretly unlock the target’s phone, computer or other devices, collect information and transfer it to another device without the permission of the user.
The Israeli company has said it sells Pegasus only to government agencies to fight terrorism and other serious crimes.