Cellular services partially restored

Dozens of suspects are being detained and quizzed across Kashmir Valley

Cellular services partially restored

A day after Centre asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to ensure security of communication infrastructure and a plan to deal with militant threats, authorities on Wednesday partially restored the cellular services in the affected areas.

Sources said more than 600 cell network towers which were affected have been made functional in the worst-affected areas of Kashmir since Tuesday evening.

More than 1,050 towers out of 2,900 towers of various telecom companies installed across Kashmir Valley had been shut down since past  week after attacks and threats by militants to landlords in whose premises the equipment was installed, they said.

In an advisory, Union Home Ministry had asked J&K government to urgently review the security situation in the wake of several attacks on mobile towers and killing of people connected with the telecommunication networks.

A senior police officer told Deccan Herald that dozens of suspects were detained throughout Valley in the last two days and are being questioned in various police stations.

“These include former militants and those who are frequently involved in stone-pelting incidents. We are sure that some over ground workers (OGWs) of militant outfits are responsible for threatening cellular operations,” he said.

“We suspect that Lashker-e-Islam, which has threatened the cellular operators, works on the directions of Qayoom Najar alias Jan Sahib, a dreaded militant of Hizb-ul-Mujaihdeen, Najar operates as head of the terror outfit in Sopore,” he added.

The officer revealed that Hizbul has fractured into small cells all over the Kashmir and the terror outfit’s central command in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir has lost control over some cells.

“It is these few cells who imposed ban on the operations of cellular companies in Kashmir. Within a few days time, the police will crack the case as we have got some vital clues,” he claimed.

In the last 11 days gun-toting militants carried out a series of attacks on mobile towers, lobbing grenades and threatening operators.

While police maintains Hizbul Mujahideen is behind the attacks, militants and separatists blame intelligence agencies for the attacks. PoK based United Jihad Council (UJC), a conglomerate of 13 militant outfits, Tuesday asked mobile operators to resume functioning across the Valley. Home Ministry officials take stock

A team of senior Union Home Ministry officials on Wednesday reached Jammu and Kashmir to take stock of the situation situation arising out of a series of attacks on telecom towers, DHNS reports from Srinagar.

The team led by Joint Secretary (Kashmir) Rajit Punhani will review the situation and submit a report to the Ministry.

The Centre will take a call on whether to intervene in the matter based on the report, a senior official said, adding the team would make on-the-spot assessment. 

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