Centre asks J&K Govt to ensure security of telecom towers
New Delhi, Jun 2: Concerned over a series of attacks on telecom towers in the state, the Centre today asked Jammu and Kashmir government to ensure security of communication infrastructure and come out with an action plan to deal with militants' threat.
In an advisory, the Home Ministry asked Jammu and Kashmir government to urgently review the security situation in the wake several attacks on mobile towers and killing of people connected with the communication networks.
"Urgent review may be undertaken to assess the extent of the threat and its fallout. Suitable counter measures, including security cover wherever necessary, may be put in place urgently to prevent recurrence of such incidents and to ensure smooth functioning of the communication infrastruture," the Home Ministry told the state government.
Asking the state government government to provide a detailed action plan to deal with the situation arising out of the militants threat, the Home Ministry said security is vital for ensuring smooth functioning of the communication network in Jammu and Kashmir.
Meanwhile, official sources said there was no organisation called Lashkar-e-Islam, which claimed responsibility for the attacks on telecom infrastructure, killing of two people and threatening some cellular companies. Police have zeroed in on those responsible for the recent attacks and arrest may follow soon.
Security agencies have seized a device called "repeater" from Sopore and it has been found that through this device militants were using mobile towers to run their own networks to communicate to their cadres.
However, the racket was busted by the security forces and militants feel that some tower owners helped the forces to detect the device, sources said.
The state government has already started the exercise to identify vulnerable towers and the state police has conveyed that it is in the process of providing security to some of the vulnerable towers, mostly located in Sopore and Bandipora.
State police has assured the Union Home Ministry that if there is a need, police will run these vulnerable towers, they said.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India have already written to the Home Ministry as well as the state government seeking urgent intervention pointing out that some employees, retailers and franchises have stopped work following militant attacks and threats.