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Pegasus Snoopgate: Will Centre Answer These 5 Crucial Questions?

Why are those asking questions being probed? How is questioning the govt 'an attempt to malign Indian democracy'?

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Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

Pegasus spyware has been reportedly used to snoop on journalists, politicians, bureacrats, businessmen among others in many countries, including India. The revelations in news reports, namely the 'Pegasus Project' are shocking. Yet, the government is in denial. Despite two of Modi's ministers being targeted. Here's why it is a matter of grave concern.

The big question here is, if Indian citizens were being snooped on, hacked, their phones tapped, then at whose behest? Who was using Pegasus Spyware, which is usually used to track terror activities or people who are a threat to the nation, to snoop on politicians, journalists, activists and bureaucrats?

Opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi and Abhishek Banerjee, election strategist Prashant Kishor, former CEC Ashok Lavasa, virologist Gagandeep Kang were on the radar. Phones of at least 40 Indian journalists were hacked. Even two ministers of the Modi government were on the Pegasus list. How are these people a threat to the national security?
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Pegasus Project: Revelations and Big Questions

NSO, the Israeli company that created the military-grade spyware, Pegasus. claims that messages, photos, documents, camera, location of anyone who has been targeted can be accessed and recorded in real time. Phone calls can be heard and recorded in real time. From private call, chats and files to bank passwords, nothing is safe.

The story has come to light, thanks to the French organizations 'Forbidden Stories' and 'Amnesty International'. Both of them shared this information with 17 media organizations globally and the report was named 'Pegasus Project'. At least 50 thousand people from 10 countries were targeted.

Even the Supreme Court staffer who had accused former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment, and her husband were on the radar.

However, despite shocking revelations and amid massive uproar and criticism, the central government has been in denial. Newly-appointed IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, also on the Pegasus list, said in the Parliament that the Pegasus report was only an attempt to 'malign Indian democracy'. How is accusing the government of snooping an attempt to malign India? How is central government equivalent to India? And why are those asking the government tough questions termed 'anti-nationals'.

Amid a raging pandemic, why was a leading virologist snooped on? Why was a woman who accused a former CJI of sexual misconduct targeted by a spyware used to track terror activities? Who would have benefited from snooping on Rahul Gandhi, Abhishek Banerjee and Prashant Kishor, ahead of assembly elections? How can the Centre say for sure that no snooping was done? Why has the government not ordered a probe yet? And why are those seeking answers being probed instead?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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