Telecom service affects in Manipur due to frequent abduction of service providers

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Imphal, Jan 1 (ANI): Frequent extortion demands and the abduction of telecom company staff by militants have severely affected the functioning of telecom service providers in Manipur.

Recently, an Airtel Company Manager and company's field sales executive who were abducted for ransom were rescued.

On December 17, 2009 police rescued two Airtel mobile service employees, Kh Joychandra and Th Oken of Singjamei, Imphal, from the clutches of militants.

KCP-MC, a banned militant outfit, had demanded a ransom of one crore for the safe release of employees.

Acting on a tip-off, police traced the abducted Airtel employees to Mapao Thangal village and rescued them after a gun battle with abductors.

Two of the abductors were killed in the encounter.

Since the abduction, the families of these Airtel officials have lived in trauma.

Joychandra's wife Chandrakala said : "We are not able to eat or sleep peacefully because of this incident. He is the only earning member of the family who is supporting the whole family."

Several civil organizations condemned the incident and staged a sit-in-protest.

As part of the protest, all official distribution centers for Airtel recharge coupons remained closed. This resulted in Airtel subscribers in the state facing problems in communicating, as they were unable to recharge their phones.

"The closing down of Airtel outlets is affecting our day-to-day work. We are losing our customers as those who come for recharge coupons do not get them," said Nanao Singh Airtel retailer.

Since the introduction of private telecom services in the state, militants have been harassing them by demanding money.

In August 2009, militants damaged 17 towers of the Tata Tele services.

In October two Aircel towers situated at Yourabung Khunou and Khurai Leikai in Imphal were also attacked due to failure of the telecom service provider to meet the extortion demands of the militants.

It is unfortunate that people of Manipur suffers with any such incidents. (ANI)

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