After North Kashmir, Telecom Crisis Moves Down South

Sheikh Hilal



After north Kashmir, telecom operators have reportedly started winding up their services in many parts of south Kashmir after “some men barged in many mobile recharge outlets” and warned the retailers of “dire consequences” if they won’t wind up their services immediately.

After restive Sopore in north Kashmir, fresh spate of threats have started coming from Kulgam district, where reportedly many mobile recharge retail shops have been closed down in view of threats. “Some men showed up at my shop and sternly warned me of consequences if I wouldn’t wind up my services,” one frightened mobile recharge retailer said.

On face of threats, several towers and telecom offices have been shut in the town. “We are not able to contact with our family members and relatives due to weak signals,” said one Kulgam local working in Srinagar. The weak signals have apparently set off an impression that many cellular towers in the area have been rendered defunct.

Similar threats have also been reported from Shopian where locals say only BSNL and Aircel networks are working. “Even the signal in both these networks is very weak,” said one local in Shopian. Though the retailers are still recharging mobile phones, but the threat, many said, is looming large over the town.

From Keller belt of Pulwama, similar threats have been reported—“warning telecom operators to wind up their services or face consequences!”

In Islamabad district, reports say, the distributors have stopped recharging their retail vendors’ main recharging Sim-card (or Lapus)—thereby triggering a sense of unease in public and forcing many telecom offices to close their service operations.

Notably, earlier panic spread in north Kashmir’s Sopore town when spate of threats were issued to telecom operators, offices and tower owners, asking them “to wind up the services”.

Later the threats turned deadly when two men associated with telecom services in the town were killed by suspected militants. In fact, the state’s top cop, DGP K Rajendra said Hizb was behind the attacks on mobile service providers in the valley. Though the Hizb supremo Syed Salahudin termed the act “handiwork of Indian agencies”, separatist leaders like Muhammad Yasin Malik and Syed Ali Geelani asked Hizb chief to unmask the assailants.

Amid all this, J-K Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said “threat won’t deter peace”.

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