Over 600 mobile towers restored in Kashmir

Over 600 mobile towers restored in Kashmir

Authorities have restored over 600 of the 1,058 mobile transmission towers affected by the recent militant attacks and threats in Kashmir while efforts are on to make the rest functional soon, sources said today.

Out of 2,903 towers of various telecom companies installed across Kashmir Valley, 1,058 towers had been shut down due to attacks and threats by militants to landlords in whose premises the equipment was installed, according to highly placed police sources.

Police, with the assistance of the telecom companies, has made 609 mobile transmission towers functional within a short span, they said, a day after Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed directed the police to provide security to mobile towers and those managing them, saying people cannot be pushed into stone age.

Sopore, a police district, was the worst-hit area where all but two of the 177 towers were shut down in the wake of a series of attacks by militants that led to death of two persons and injuries to three others.

The sources said police has been able to retore 59 towers -- mostly hub sites and those located close to security forces camps and police stations.

In Baramulla district, excluding Sopore, 110 of the 185 affected towers have been restored while in Srinagar -- the summer capital of the state -- 91 of the 141 affected towers have been restored.

Srinagar has a tower strength of 714.
Anantnag district in south Kashmir and Kupwara, barring Handwara police district, in north were unaffected by the crisis.

None of the 485 towers in these two districts were affected by the militant activities in the district and have been functional.

Out of 123 towers in Pulwama district, 101 towers were affected by the militant threats while more than 50 per cent of the 140 towers were shutdown in Awantipora police district, the sources said.

Sayeed yesterday held a meeting with senior civil and police officers to discuss the situation arising out of a series of attacks by militants targeting telecom facilities across Kashmir over the last few days.

He took strong note of the disruption of cellular networks in various parts of the Valley, saying mobile and internet services have become integral to modern-day functioning in government and others sectors.

Political parties had condemned the attacks with former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioning why Sayeed had failed to "reassure" the people in the Valley.

The sources said Handwara, a police district, was also severely affected as 111 of the 130 towers were shut down. Police has restored 81 of these towers while work is on to get the remaining 30 towers operational as soon as possible.

The Chief Minister had yesterday directed police to take steps to thwart any attempts to disrupt cellular services in the Valley, saying miscreants would not be allowed to take law into their own hands.

Sayeed directed Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar to take all possible steps to thwart any attempt to disrupt cellular networks in Valley and provide security to mobile tower installations and owners.

The sources said police has detained several persons in connection with the threatening posters against the cellular operators and landlords of mobile transmission towers that had surfaced in some parts of south Kashmir.

Separatists in Kashmir too have condemned the attacks even as United Jehad Council (UJC), a Pakistan-occupied Kashmir based umbrella organisation of militant outfits, has distanced itself from these acts.
UJC chief Syed Salahuddin has asked the cellular operators to resume their activities.

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