An alert has been sounded along the Sino-India border after local residents, including a village head, received telephone calls from “spies” either from Pakistan or China, about army deployment along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The caller, posing as either a colonel or a local official, made queries about army presence in the area and the timing of their movements, official sources said.
The ‘sarpanch’ (village head) of Durbuk village, recently received a call where he was asked whether “outstanding” issues with the army had been sorted out.
The sarpanch, who was sitting inside an army camp at the time of receiving the call, got suspicious and enquired from the caller about his identity.
Despite the caller claiming to be from the Deputy Commissioner’s office, the sarpanch snubbed him and said he should get in touch with the army.
He also inquired at the local DC’s office, only to find out that no one from that number had called. The army later found that the number appearing on the sarpanch’s phone had been masked and that it was a computer generated call.
Talking to PTI over phone, the sarpanch, Stanzin, said he received the call only once. “The caller was asking about the movement of troops and whether the roads had been built in the area for their movement.”
“He said he was from the army headquarters but from his stupid queries, I got suspicious and informed the army officer standing next to me,” he said.
Later, the army found that several people in villages along the Sino-Indian border had been receiving calls from such unknown numbers and in a few cases, basic information had been shared out of “pure ignorance” by the villagers.
The army took the help of the state administration and a mass campaign has been launched to educate people in general and those living along the Sino-Indian border not to share any information with any unidentified caller.
The army has also asked its formations along the LAC to educate all the civilians in their Areas Of Responsibility (AOR) so that such spies do not get any information about the movement of troops.
The army has laid special emphasis on educating the elected members and office bearers of Hill Council as they had some information pertaining to army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which man the borders with Pakistan and China, to remain alert and not to give any kind of information to these suspicious callers.
This was based on an analysis by the army that calls were being received by only those people who were either sarpanch or working in state government and were privy to some information about the troops and ITBP officials.
The army has asked people to get in touch with the nearest army unit with names of the callers and telephone numbers, name and telephone number of the recipient, details sought by the caller and queries raised by him.