SRINAGAR: Following a slew of attacks on mobile vendors and installations by militants, mobile connectivity in the Valley was disrupted on Tuesday as telecom companies closed shop at some places.
J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has asked the police to identify and arrest the attackers.
The mobile services in Sopore, Pattan and other parts of twin North Kashmir districts of Baramulla and Kupwara, parts of South Kashmir, including Shopian, Pulwama and Kulgam districts and outskirts of Srinagar have been disrupted.
Sources said out of the 3,500 mobile towers belonging to various telecom companies like BSNL, Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone and Reliance in the Valley, about 1,800 have been rendered non-functional as a result. The lockdown follows attacks on mobile vendors and installations by militants following seizure of their hi-tech communication device from a mobile tower in sensitive Sopore township in Baramulla district. Two person -- a mobile vendor and a person-- who had rented out his premises for installation of mobile tower - were killed and three others injured in series of militant attacks in North Kashmir and Srinagar.
After the militant attacks, including Monday’s grenade attack on a mobile tower in Srinagar, police and CRPF personnel have increased patrolling in areas with mobile installations. The Security Forces have also set up temporary check-posts in areas near mobile towers.
President of Kashmir BSNL Tower Landlords Welfare Organisation, Shabir Ahmad Lone, said that they would hold an important meeting on Wednesday to decide the future course of action. The Army has offered its assistance to the government to deal with the situation.
CM Mufti Calls Emergency meeting
In view of the sensitive nature of the situation, Chief Minister on Tuesday convened a high-level meeting of senior civil and police officials to discuss the attacks. Mufti said people cannot be pushed into Stone Age as modern-day functioning in government, banking, tourism, education, and other vital sectors are totally dependent on Internet connectivity. He directed state police chief K Rajendra to take all possible steps to thwart any attempt to disrupt cellular networks in Valley and provide security to mobile tower installations and owners.