Shillong, March 5: The Meghalaya Police have begun a crackdown on illegal SIM cards procured from Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura and sold to militants in the state, police officers said on Thursday.
"We have seized over 536 illegal SIM cards sold in black market in the state in the past 36 hours," police spokesperson and Inspector General of Police G H P Raju said.
Police have 416 illegal SIM cards from the Shahlang area in West Khasi Hills district, while 120 unauthorised SIM cards were seized from various sellers in East Garo Hills district, he said. In Mendipathar area of North Garo Hills, the Police have seized many unauthorised SIM cards from sellers, he said.
During preliminary investigation, it was revealed that each illegal SIM card was sold at Rs 200 to Rs 300 in the open market.
Director General of Police (DGP) Rajiv Mehta has directed all district superintendents of police (SPs) to organise special drives against sellers of illegal SIM cards to thwart their use by militants and criminals operating in the state, Raju said.
"All militant groups, criminals, extortionists, kidnap gangs operating in Meghalaya and Garo Hills in particular are using mobile SIM cards of various service providers, which are pre-activated on fictitious names from Dimapur, Agartala, Imphal and Assam," he said adding, "The availability of unauthorised SIM cards is a serious breach of security as these are being used by militants and criminals in extortion-related cases."
The militant groups such as GNLA, AMEF, ASAK, LAEF, UALA and various others get these SIM cards and extensively use them to send extortion SMS to the victims, a senior police officer added.