Cellular outlets remain shut in Sopore

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15 days after ‘militant raid’

Sopore:  All the outlets of cellular companies in North Kashmir’s Sopore town are shut since May 1 this month, the day when unknown pistol borne masked men simultaneously raided Bharti Airtel, Aircel and Vodafone outlets in the town.

These masked men reportedly threatened the staff of all these three cellular companies after a “Hi-tech Communication Device” (HCD) which they had reportedly installed on a tower of a company near Badambagh Sopore town went missing.

The towers of these cellular companies are located in Badambagh area and the base camp of 22 Rashtriya Rifles of Indian Army is also present here. HCD can be installed by militants, either to avoid being detected by security agencies or to boost their internet network services.

An employee of the Cellular Company on condition of anonymity informed that pistol borne men that were two in number snatched three mobiles of the outlet staff and after checking the contact numbers and call details handed those mobiles back to them. “These armed men were telling us to return their HCD which according to them they had installed on one of the mobile towers in Sopore town, so that Army could not locate and trace them,” he said.

Sources said that soon after the incident police and army patrol inspected all the three mobile towers and questioned the people living nearby these towers.

Deputy Inspector General of Police North Kashmir Gareeb Das while confirming the raid of the armed men on the cellular stores told CNS that police has been investigating the matter and trying to find out who these people were and what was their intent. “The initial investigation has suggested that the pistol borne men were speaking Kashmiri and they were locals. We fail to understand how they managed to install an HCD on a mobile tower and the involvement of any employee of the cellular company in their act can’t be ruled out,” DIG said.

A top army official ruled out the possibility of installing any Hi-tech Communication Device on any tower in the town. “Such a device needs high power supply and it is dead impossible for the militants to install such a device on top of the tower. “Due to strict norms, cellular companies these day’s don’t issue sim cards blindly as a result these local militants are unable to procure sim cards easily. This might have been the main reason, why they barged into outlets and threatened these employees. It was just a pressure tactics on part of these militants,” he said and added that the youth who raided these outlets were local second rung militants.

Meanwhile, due to the closure of these three cellular outlets, the pre-paid subscribers in Sopore town have been facing immense inconvenience as no recharge coupons are available in the market. (CNS)     

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