Attacks on Mobile Towers CM Orders Security, MHA Sends Advisory

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SRINAGAR: A week after telecom services were hit following threats and attacks by mysterious  elements Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed finally broke his silence on Tuesday and directed police to ensure security of cellular towers and those manning them.

Large number of franchises of different cellular companies have stopped work following these attacks and threats throwing the mobile network across Kashmir into disorder.

Centre also issued an advisory to the state government, asking it to ensure security of communication infrastructure and come out with an action plan to deal with what it termed as militants’ threat.

The Union Home Ministry asked the state government to urgently review the security situation in the wake of several attacks on mobile towers and killing of people connected with the communication networks.

The state government has started the exercise to identify vulnerable towers and the state police has conveyed that it is in the process of providing security to some of the vulnerable towers, mostly located in Sopore and Bandipore, official sources said in New Delhi.

State police has assured the Union Home Ministry that if need be, police will run these vulnerable towers, they said.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India have written to the Union Home Ministry as well as the state government seeking urgent intervention, saying that some employees, retailers and franchises have stopped work following militant attacks and threats.

In the wake of the series of attacks, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today held a meeting with senior civil and police officers in Srinagar to discuss the situation and directed police to provide security to mobile towers and their owners and thwart any attempt to disrupt cellular services in the Valley.

The meeting came a day after militants targeted a mobile phone tower with a grenade in Habbakadal area of Srinagar. 

Among others, the meeting was attended by Director General of Police, K. Rajendra, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas, Principal Secretary, Home, R. K. Goyal and IGP, Kashmir, SJM Gillani.

‘Don’t Push People To Stone Age’

Sayeed observed that people cannot be pushed into Stone Age as modern-day functioning in Government, Banking, Tourism, Education, and other vital sectors, in particular,  old-age pension and e-transfer of insurance claims and compensation to flood-affected victims are totally dependent on internet connectivity. He said cellular networks have become lifeline as these services are availed by all sections of the society.

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