Taliban posters warning of attacks on telecoms, petrol pumps, cable operators and alcohol-sellers have surfaced in Jammu and Kashmir’s restive Sopore area, where militants recently killed two men working with mobile phone service providers.
The posters, bearing initials of the Tehreek-i-Taliban’s Kashmir wing, warned petrol pump owners of dire consequences if they allow military and police vehicles to refuel at their establishments.
Cable operators were told to stop showing Indian shows while people selling alcohol and drugs have been asked to immediately stop such un-Islamic activities.
Moreover, residents have been told not to give shelter to non-Kashmiri labourers at their homes.
This is the first time Taliban posters have surfaced in Kashmir, though police say there was no presence of the Pakistan-based group in the Valley. Intelligence agencies, however, reported in January about the outfit trying to send militants from across the border into the state.
The posters have increased people’s anxiety in the volatile border districts, especially Baramulla district, where mobile phone services were suspended after the killing of two telecom workers in May.
Earlier, an employee of the state-owned BSNL was killed.
Most of the service providers in the area have shut their signal towers, hitting cellphone connectivity.
Outlets of cellphone companies in Sopore town of Baramulla district have remained closed since May 1, the day masked men threatened at gunpoint Bharti Airtel, Aircel and Vodafone shops to stop operations.
Police said most of these towers were operating now, but reports from remote areas suggested otherwise.
The threat to telecoms increased after a kit, called hi-tech communication device, went missing from a tower operated by a private company near Sopore town. Around the same time, staff of a company reported the presence of a suspicious device in a tower.
The police initially dismissed these incidents as “local mischief” but changed their approach after intelligence reports suggested involvement of a Hizbul Mujahideen module.