Militants use satellite phone amid J&K internet block

Militants use satellite phone amid J&K internet block

Representative image. (PTI photo)

As militants in Kashmir have started using traditional satellite phones due to the snapping of internet services, security agencies are finding it hard to find the pinpoint location of the ultras.

Sources told DH that in the absence of pre-paid mobile and internet services, militants have been provided satellite phones by their handlers from across the border. 

“Earlier militants would use either pre-paid SIMs or VoIP calls to communicate with each other. However, as both these facilities are snapped for the last almost four months, satellite phones are being increasingly used by the militants,” they revealed.

Earlier this month, Jammu and Kashmir Police recovered a satellite phone from two encounter spots in north Kashmir. “While militancy incidents have reduced considerably since August 5, militant handlers are trying to take advantage of the prevailing uncertain situation to regroup themselves. However, as of now, local recruitment is down though infiltration attempts increased after August,” sources added.

Security agencies put the total number of active militants across Jammu and Kashmir anywhere between 250 and 300.

A senior police official said that militants were trying to make inroads into Srinagar city - which due to heightened security usually remains a transit route - from the last few weeks taking advantage of uncertainty in the valley. 

In the last two months, the number of CASOs in and around the city has suddenly increased, with security forces detaining some suspects. Police and other agencies suspect there could be around half-a-dozen active militants in Srinagar. There have been several grenade attacks in Srinagar since September in which at least 100 civilians and some security personnel have been injured.

“Last week, we conducted a cordon-and-search-operation in Soura area on the outskirts of the city on suspicion that a satellite phone was being used in the area. However, militants had already left the area before the operation was launched,” he said.

The officer revealed that post-August 5, militants were finding it easy to travel to Srinagar and get logistic support here. “Some people in the city are willing to provide shelter and other support to militants. And as they don’t use mobile phones, it has become difficult to trace them in congested city areas,” he added.

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