For the third day running since July 31, sleuths from the army and a select team from the Punjab Police continued their joint search for the suspected terrorist who had made a satellite call from the area in recent times. The date the call was made has not been disclosed.
Sources told HT that the service provider for the call has been identified as Thuraya, a firm based in the United Arab Emirates.
Army reports state that the use of satellite phones of Thuraya - used by Pakistani terrorists in the November 2009 Mumbai attacks - is banned in India under the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act.
The operation has been on in low-key manner with officials of the army team from Jalandhar Cantonment based 11-Corps justifying its presence in the area on the grounds that it wants to take possession of some land. Punjab Police officials, dressed in civvies, claim that the exercise was nothing more than a routine joint drill with army.
However, the search team has been unable to locate the exact user of the satellite call made from the area falling under Karnana, Sahlo, Raja Saab and Punya villages in Banga region with a sizeable presence of Muslim Gujjar community.
"The search team zeroed in a house from where we suspected the call to have been made, but nothing concrete emerged," said a Punjab Police source, not wishing to be identified.
On Sunday, a few barricades were set up by the joint team, with officials awaiting orders on the future of the search operation.
Since the search was launched, data