In the leaked list of thousands of phone numbers that were analysed by Pegasus Project partners, two political personalities from Assam Samujjal Bhattacharjee of AASU and Anup Chetia of ULFA are also on the list.
While it is not known why Bhattacharjee would be of such interest, the period in which his number was added to the list offers some clues. The protest which was sparked due to the Citizenship Amendment Bill caused to re-form the committee.
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This is the reconstitution of a high-level committee to implement a clause of the Assam Accord on July 16, 2019, according to a report by the online news portal, The Wire.
It was headed by a new chairman – retired Gauhati High Court Justice Biplab Kumar Sarma – and saw an increase in the number of members from nine to 12.
Among the new members, it included Samujjal Bhattacharjee, advisor to the All Assam Students Union (AASU). Another person whose phone number is in the leaked list is the pro-talks United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leader Anup Chetia.
Chetia took an active part in the ULFA’s peace talks with the MHA along with other members, in May 2018, demanding the scrapping of the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
One of his two phone numbers was selected for surveillance in late 2018 till the 2019 general elections where he was active in demanding that the BJP fulfill its promise of granting Scheduled Tribe status to six communities of Assam.
Chetia said, ” I haven’t indulged in any anti-national or criminal activities in 18 years. Because of my past, it is natural that I could be under surveillance. But I’m not bothered about it. “