Israeli Pegasus snooping case: Number of activists who confirmed being contacted by WhatsApp over surveillance rises to 20

A massive debate on security and privacy in the cyber world has erupted after popular social messaging platform WhatsApp revealed that journalists and human rights activists around the world, including India, had in May 2019 possibly been put under surveillance by Israeli spyware ‘Pegasus’.

Greeshma Kuthar and Natasha Trivedi October 31, 2019 21:53:24 IST
Israeli Pegasus snooping case: Number of activists who confirmed being contacted by WhatsApp over surveillance rises to 20
  • Here is a list of the people who have confirmed being contacted by WhatsApp regarding a possible breach in security

  • Of the 1,400-odd activists targeted worldwide, at least 19 are Indian activists, lawyers, and journalists

  • Of these, a majority are associated with the nine activists arrested in connection with Elgaar Parishad event

A massive debate on security and privacy in the cyber world has erupted after popular social messaging platform WhatsApp revealed that journalists and human rights activists around the world, including India, had in May 2019 possibly been put under surveillance by Israeli spyware ‘Pegasus’.

After a WhatsApp spokesperson told The Indian Express it was aware of those targeted and had reached out to them, Firstpost initially located three such individuals: Nagpur-based lawyer-activist Nihalsingh Rathod, Pune-based cultural activist Rupali Jadhav and Gadchiroli-based lawyer and human rights activist Jagdish Meshram.

Here is a list of the people who have confirmed being contacted by WhatsApp regarding a possible breach in security so far:

Name Profession
Anand Teltumbde Professor, Writer and Intellectual, Goa
Bela Bhatia Human rights activist, Chattishgarh
Rupali Jadhav Cultural Activist, Kabir Kala Manch, Pune
Nihalsingh Rathod Lawyer, Human Rights Law Network, Nagpur (Surendra Gadling's Junior)
Shalini Gera Lawyer, Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group, Chattisgarh
Shubranshu Choudhary Activist, Chattisgarh
Degree Prasad Chouhan Lawyer and Cultural Activist, Chattisgarh
Jagdish Meshram Lawyer, Gadchiroli
Minal Gadling
Ashish Gupta Activist, People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), Delhi
Ankit Grewal Lawyer, Chandigargh
Seema Azad Fouder of bi-monthly magazine 'Dastak' and PUCL activist, Allahabad
Saroj Giri Associate Professor at Delhi University, New Delhi
Vivek Sundara Social Activist, Mumbai
Ajmal Khan Research scholar, New Delhi (previously PHD Scholar at TISS Mumbai)
Rajeeev Sharma Poltical analyst, New Delhi
Sidhant Sibal Wion Journalist, New Delhi
Santosh Bhartiya Editor-in-Chief of Chauthi Duniya, a Hindi Sunday newspaper, New Delhi
Alok Shukhla Convenor, Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, Raipur
Ravindranath Bhalla Lawyer, Telangana

Of the 1,400-odd activists targeted worldwide, at least 20 are Indian activists, lawyers, and journalists. Of these, a majority are associated with the nine activists arrested in connection with Elgaar Parishad event on 31 December, 2017, (popularly called the ‘Bhima Koregaon case’ after the place where the riots took place).

Nine activists — Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, and Vernon Gonsalves — were arrested in two separate groups in June and August last year, for allegedly inciting riots and having Maoist links.

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