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New Delhi: The Congress on Friday accused the BJP of using the secret “Tek Fog” app to hijack major social media platforms and bypassing encrypted messaging platforms, demanding answers from the Union government and the Supreme Court’s intervention in the matter.
Party leader Rahul Gandhi shared a screenshot of The Wire Hindi‘s story on Tek Fog on Twitter, saying in Hindi that the BJP has set up many “factories of hate”.
“Seeing the young age of the accused in the [Bulli Bai] case, the whole country is asking, where does so much hatred come from? Actually, BJP has set up many factories of hate. #TekFog is one of them,” he said.
#BulliBaiApp मामले में अभियुक्तों की कम उम्र देखकर पूरा देश पूछ रहा था कि इतनी नफ़रत आती कहाँ से है?
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 8, 2022
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate accused the BJP of using the app to amplify its messages and agenda on social media, and for targeting those against the saffron party, including women journalists.
A two-year investigation by The Wire had revealed the workings of the secret app, which can hijack the ‘trending’ section of Twitter and ‘trend’ on Facebook; phish ‘inactive’ WhatsApp accounts; and use database of private citizens for targeted harassment.
“The government is obviously hand in glove with Tek Fog…. The BJP especially is hand in glove with Tek Fog. But what is India’s IT and telecom minister up to? Why has the ministry not woken up to how serious the issue is?” Shrinate asked at a press conference.
She said the government was cryptic about using Pegasus to snoop on people, including journalists and politicians, and today, the Supreme Court is looking into the controversy.
“I would urge the Supreme Court, because it is already looking into the Pegasus matter, to take suo-motu cognisance of this report as this targets Indian citizens and hurts the very foundation of our democracy,” she said.
“I would urge the Supreme Court to look into it and punish those behind it in no uncertain terms because no one should have the right or the freedom to erode India’s democracy,” the Congress leader said.
She alleged that some of the people associated with the app are functionaries of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP, and said the saffron party should come clean on the issue.
A BJYM leader that The Wire spoke to denied that the organisation used the app.
She alleged that the app was used to systematically target the Congress by using a hashtag, when the Congress chief had said the party will stand with labourers after a lockdown was imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A systematic targeting of the Tablighi Jamaat was also done by Tek Fog and that is why the issue needs to be taken seriously because it hurts the very foundation of India’s democracy, the Congress leader said.
TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien had asked the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for a discussion on the secret app, saying the matter “has serious ramifications and could jeopardise national security”.
(With PTI inputs)