In what could be a problem for Indian security agencies, militants have set up a parallel communication network in the border districts of Poonch and Rajouri. To hoodwink the security forces, which regularly monitor communication on wireless sets and Indian cellular services, the terrorists use Pakistani cell-phone networks to talk to top guns across the Line of Control (LoC). Aiding this are mobile-phone towers shifted near the LoC.
A source in the security forces told the Hindustan Times that there was "enough evidence of parallel communication network of Pakistan in the twin districts".
An army source confirmed: "The vital information collected by the Military Intelligence indicates that mobile-phone towers of Pakistan's Mobilink network have been shifted near the LoC in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). The height of the towers has also been increased."
They now cover 15-20 km of Poonch and Rajouri and "directly facilitate the terrorists operating in the border districts".
When terrorists were caught in recent operations, Pakistani SIM Cards and mobile phones were recovered from them, a pointer to the new network in place. About 15 SIM cards of Mobilink and an equal number of mobile phones were found on the persons of terrorists killed in Rajouri and Poonch.
"This seems to be a new modus operandi initiated from across the border to unleash a fresh reign of terror on this side of LoC," a senior army officer said on conditions of anonymity, "because security forces intercept the conversation of terrorists on wireless sets and monitor communication networks of BSNL and Airtel."
He said conversations over Pakistani mobile network could not be traced and since the phone bills would be cleared in PoK, the terrorists did not have to run the risk of purchasing Indian prepaid cards after short intervals. "This new strategy has become a headache for security forces," he said.