Several Dalit rights lawyers and activists, including Bhima-Koregaon case lawyer Nihal Singh Rathod and Jagdalpur Legal Aid group member Shalini Gera, confirmed that they got informed by WhatsApp of a spyware attack that had targeted them in May.
At least two dozen Indians are among the 1,400-odd individuals who have confirmed to have targeted globally by the spyware and surveilled. Other names in the list include Anand Teltumbde, Bela Bhatia and other such human rights, activists.
Nagpur-based lawyer Nihalsing Rathod, representing Bhima-Koregaon accused Surendra Gadling, said he wrote to WhatsApp in March 2019 after receiving suspicious WhatsApp video calls, but received no response. He said he received video calls from unknown international numbers starting with +31 and +45 in 2017 as well as 2019. WhatsApp today confirmed that Indians got targeted by Pegasus spyware.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday criticized the Central government over the WhatsApp spyware issue, with a reference to the Rafale deal. "The Govt seeking WhatsApp's response on who bought Pegasus to spy on Indian citizens is like Modi asking Dassault who made money on the sale of RAFALE jets to India!" Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.
He added that the 'Right to Privacy' has been an anathema to the majoritarian BJP government and over the last five years it has done everything to "crush" the right of the citizens, including dissenting voices.