Men behind war on mobile telephony in Kashmir remain elusive

  • Peerzada Ashiq,, Srinagar
  • Updated: Jun 02, 2015 09:15 IST

Unknown gunmen's war against mobile telephony in Kashmir is growing murkier with each passing day as the security agencies fail to establish fully the group behind the wave of attacks on cellular companies.

Two groups of men held by the police in intimidation and violent threats to the mobile service providers from north and south Kashmir are remotely connected or coordinated.

Four youths were arrested in north Kashmir's Baramulla district in a grenade-throwing case, three were arrested from south Kashmir's Pulwama district for pasting posters of the Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI), a little-know outfit that issued a diktat to close down mobile services across the Valley.

According to the police investigations, three youths -- Imtiyaz Ahmad Sheikh, Mudasir Ahmad Lone and Ishfaq Ahmad Bhat, all residents of Khrew in south Kashmir, were working independently.

"One youth is a computer operator. Two others are drivers. They pasted the LeI threat poster after downloading it from the internet," said a top police official, who is interrogating the three, but is not allowed to speak to the media.

He said other angles of extortion are also being looked into "but they being militant sympathisers cannot be ruled out".
The police also failed to establish the Pampore group's link with four other youths arrested in a grenade attack case on a tower in north Kashmir's Sopore area.

The security agencies in Sopore fear that indigenous and independently working militants are trying to make a comeback by crippling the communication network in the state.

"We are looking at the fact which group is trying to make a comeback by hitting at the telecommunications," said a police officer based in Sopore.

The Sopore police's investigations are more focused on the largest indigenous militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, whose head Syed Salahuddin though have distanced from these attacks.

Militants have so far carried out five attacks, killed two people and injured three others in their bid to close down mobile services in north Kashmir and Srinagar.

The police have sharpened surveillance on around 130 suspected youth feared to have joined the militant ranks in south and north Kashmir.

"We are still looking into new facet of militancy where local recruits are working without any command and control from across the border," said a top cop with the counter-insurgency cell.

But the threats to owners of private properties housing towers are increasing across north Kashmir with security agencies' efforts yielding no results against the men and the group behind it.

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