Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma (ANI)
Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma (ANI)

Pegasus row: Assam CM demands ban on Amnesty International

ANI | Updated: Jul 20, 2021 20:49 IST

Guwahati (Assam) [India], July 20 (ANI): Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday lambasted Amnesty International and demanded a ban on the organisation over its role in the Pegasus surveillance controversy.
"We know the role of Amnesty. They're encouraging left-wing terrorism in India. This is a well-designed conspiracy to defame PM Modi, the Indian parliamentary system and is a deliberate attempt to create dissatisfaction. I condemn this malicious design," Sarma on 'Pegasus project'.
"I request the Government of India to ban the functioning of Amnesty International in the country. I feel the Congress party should join hands with Government in criticising Amnesty International. They can't defame our country like this all the time," said Sarma on Pegasus snooping controversy.
"They (some media outlets) said these (persons) are potential targets but can't confirm if their privacy was compromised. What kind of journalism is this? Amnesty International and certain other international groups are hell-bent to defame India's democracy and leadership," added Sarma.
"Various Left-wing organisations throughout the world, including Amnesty International, are part of the conspiracy," Sarma said while addressing a press conference here.
Sarma also claimed that there was it is now clear that Amnesty can go to any extend to defame India's democratic fabric.
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."

Meanwhile, as per media reports a British High Commission spokesperson said: "We are not going to get into speculation around individual cases on this issue," when asked on reports of UK High Commission official was under surveillance as per 'Pegasus Project'.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had outrightly rejected the allegations.
"BJP strongly refutes, condemns the baseless and bereft of political propriety comments leveled by Congress against the BJP. It is a new low for a party that has ruled India for more than 50 years," BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday.
The names of over 40 Indian journalists appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware, according to a report published in The Wire on Sunday.

According to the report, the journalists who were targeted work for some news organisations in the country including Hindustan Times, The Hindu, India Today, Indian Express and Network18. Many of them cover matters related to Defence, Home Ministry, Election Commission and Kashmir among others.

However, Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Monday said there is 'no substance' in the media report regarding the use of Pegasus on WhatsApp, adding that the report was an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.