Pegasus Row: India fast becoming a spy state

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As if its failures in coronavirus pandemic were not enough to bog it down, Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) government suffered another imminent blow with the surfacing of a snooping row to what the experts call is an ample proof of India fast becoming a spy state.

An analytical report released by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service on Thursday stated that by violating all norms of basic human rights India used the Israeli made spyware, Pegasus, to hack phone numbers of prominent Indian politicians like Rahul Gandhi, Abhiskek Banerjee, journalists, activists and government critics as well as Hurriyat leaders like Syed Ali Gilani.

According to analysts, 16 media outlets, including, The Wire, The Washington Post, The Guardian and Le Monde reported on the connection between the Israeli-based NSO Group and a list of tens of thousands of phone numbers, including of activists, journalists, business executives and politicians around the world including India. They also point out that most of these individuals, including Gandhi, were targeted in the run-up to the 2019 national elections, which saw Modi return to power with a bigger majority than in 2014. It also proves, apart from playing Pakistan card or anti-Muslim card, Modi-led BJP used snooping as a tool to come into power.

The numbers from India and to a lesser extent Pakistan that appeared on the list offer a portrait of Indian priorities in the region. The records included at least one number once used by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, as well as hundreds of others in the country, the analysts said.

According to experts, the snooping of private phone numbers of its critics proves that Hindutva led Indian government can go to every extent to achieve its nefarious designs in the region.

The revelation has also proved the nexus between India and Israel and their evil designs for regional hegemony, the analysts pointed out.

The experts believe that the targeted surveillance through Pegasus spyware is illegal and deplorable and the scale and nature of surveillance described by Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based journalism nonprofit, goes beyond an attack on the privacy of individuals. You feel violated, there’s no doubt about it, said the analysts adding it is an incredible intrusion into privacy of an individual. In order to enforce its ideology of Hindutva, upon all and sundry, New Delhi has fallen to the lowest ebb of decency and humanity, they added.

Hacking is a crime, with no exceptions to be made even if it is directed by a government and the Indian government is answerable to those whom it targeted, the analysts said adding BJP seems to be suffering from fear psychosis over the rise of several prominent politicians like Imran Khan, Rahul Gandhi, Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee and Mamta Banerjee and it only reflects the authoritarian mindset of Modi and his allies.

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