Gunmen Raid Mobile Tower Sites in Sopore

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SRINAGAR: Suspected militants on the night hours of May 21 raided three mobile tower sites in Sopore and directed the land owners to wind up the operations of these towers, a top official source said.

The source said that the militants went to Shuwa village, Dooru village and Dangerpora village of Sopore and made it clear to the proprietors on whose land these mobile towers are erected to shut the operations or they will destroy them (towers) by blasting”.

The development has come at a time when tensions between militants and telecom operators are already running high in Sopore. Exactly three weeks ago, a group of masked militants who were armed with pistols, raided the outlets of three leading telecom companies which include Vodafone, Airtel and Aircel in the town and allegedly thrashed some of their employees, security officials had said. 

The development came after a communication device installed by suspected militants on an Airtel mobile tower was removed by telecom operators at Badambagh locality of the town.

The offices, outlets and other franchises of the telecom companies are closed since three weeks in Sopore causing inconvenience to the customers. The customers say that no recharge for mobile phones is available in Sopore and its adjoining areas and for doing same they have to approach their families and friends outside Sopore. The internet connectivity has also been hit in the town, they added.

Usually, the telecom companies in Kashmir employ one of the land proprietors for operating the mobile towers.

A senior police official said that the hunt to nab the gunmen is on and the forces including Special Operation Group (SOG), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and army have intensified patrolling during day time as well as in the night hours. “We are hopeful that we would be able to track down the militants,” he said.

The security agencies have already questioned several youths in this connection but so far no one has been arrested.

Earlier, posters warning the telecommunication companies to close their services surfaced in the Town. “We warn these telecommunication companies to close all networking services, close their offices and stop recharging services as well. We warn the retailers as well to stop recharging the subscribers within seven days,” read the posters of unknown Lashkar-e-Islam outfit. The gunmen reportedly have held the telecommunication companies exclusively responsible for the killing and arrest of top militant commanders in the town. (GNS)

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