Mehbooba, Soz, Karan, Nazki among 10,000 Indians on watch-list

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 9/17/2020 12:57:34 PM

Chinese firm linked to intelligence agencies surveilling millions in India, USA

JAMMU, Sep 16: Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, presently under detention since last year, was among the millions of people across the globe and 10,000 Indians on the surveillance net of a Chinese tech company, Zhenhua Data, based in the south-eastern Chinese city of Shenzhen.
The personal details of millions of people around the world, particularly India, USA and Australia, have been swept up in a database compiled by a Chinese tech company with reported links to the country’s military and intelligence networks, according to a trove of leaked data, shared by a source with news organisations including The Indian Express, The Australian Financial Review, Italy’s Il Foglio, and The Daily Telegraph, London.
According to a report in UK Based The Guardian, The database was leaked to American academic Christopher Balding, who was previously based in Shenzhen but has returned to the US because of security concerns. He shared the data with Australian firm, Internet 2.0 for recovery and analysis. The findings were first published on Monday by a consortium of media outlets including the Australian Financial Review and the Daily Telegraph in the UK.
According to one report, analysts have revealed that about 2.4 million people are included in the database, assembled mostly based on public open-source data such as social media profiles. A Chinese company that has been monitoring over 10,000 Indian individuals and organisations, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has also reportedly amassed the personal details of more than 35,000 Australians and at least 50,000 Americans as part of a giant global database targeting influential figures.
Not just influential individuals in the political and official establishment, Indians being monitored cut across disciplines, according to Indian Express. “They include bureaucrats in key positions; judges; scientists and academicians; journalists; actors and sportspersons; religious figures and activists. And even hundreds accused of financial crime, corruption, terrorism, and smuggling of narcotics, gold, arms or wildlife,” its series of reports have pointed out.
The reports have revealed that Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. Limited, a company with links to the Chinese government, and the Chinese Communist Party, is monitoring over 10,000 Indian individuals and organisations in its global database of “foreign targets.” The range of targets in India identified and monitored in real-time by Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. Limited is sweeping — in both breadth and depth, as per the data
The Indian Express reported on Wednesday, the database includes as many as 30 prominent leaders and bureaucrats from the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh, the arena of the current India-China standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
According to the report, at least 180 politicians and bureaucrats on the target list are from states in the North-East including Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland; Sikkim; and the newly created Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir; and Ladakh. This assumes significance given that Zhenhua Data claims to be working with the intelligence, government, military and security agencies.
Those in the Zhenhua list include at least 12 current or former Chief Ministers and their relatives; 10 serving ministers holding infrastructure portfolios such as Power, Water resources, Irrigation, River Development and Public works, and several key bureaucrats from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and West Bengal.
From Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports to Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of J&K when it was a state – she is currently in detention — those being monitored include Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and his deputy Yanthungo Patton.
Yesterday, one report had pointed out that former high court judge and former chairperson of J&K State Human Rights Commission, Bilal Nazki, was also among the key figures on the watch-list.
Among those being monitored are former members of Parliament from Ladakh, leaders of PDP and National Conference in the Valley, state Congress President Ghulam Ahmad Mir, former Union Minister Saifuddin Soz, Karan Singh, son of Hari Singh, the last king of the princely state of J&K.
The list also includes former Chief Ministers from the North-East include two from Assam, three from Arunachal Pradesh, two from Meghalaya, one each from Manipur, Sikkim and Mizoram.
The list mentions bureaucrats including Umang Narula, now advisor to Lieutenant Governor in Ladakh, and JapuDeru, former MLA from Bomdila and former advisor to Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu.
China was in a face-off with India at Doklam in Sikkim in 2017; Beijing had knocked at the UN Security Council seeking a meeting to discuss India’s abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir last August, and earlier in March had stalled a UNSC proposal to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist.
Beijing’s watch on the North-East is linked to China’s dam-building spree and water diversion plans along the Brahmaputra (YarlungTsangpo) on its side also remain a source of tension between the two neighbours.
Not only do these states and UTs share international borders with five countries including China, they are key to the Centre’s Act East Policy being a critical physical bridge between India and South-East Asia.
Politically, the ruling BJP has expanded its footprint in the region with its own Chief Ministers in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Tripura, since it assumed power at the Centre in 2014.

 

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