September 2004 News

HM commander's mobile exposes many contacts

17 September 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent

Jammu: A Cellone mobile telephone number 9419168196 with International Subscribers Dialing (ISD) facility recovered from a Hizbul Mujahideen ‘area commander’ Mohd Younis in Chanderkoot area of Ramban has given Doda police a major breakthrough in exposing Hizbul’s widespread network in Doda, Jammu, New Delhi and Pakistan. A total of nine more Cellone connections have landed in the possession of Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba militants, the investigations being carried out by the Doda police revealed. Of them, police have identified two more mobile numbers, which were in the possession of two Hizbul ‘commanders’ and was monitoring them with the help of Bharatiya Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) authorities. The mobile number 9419168196 had been issued by the BSNL on the name of Mohd Iqbal Shah C-o Mohd Iqbal & Sons, Doda. However, it had fallen in the hands of Hizbul Mujahideen militants and was being used by Mohd Younis son of Abdul Rashid, a resident of Batote, who was operating as an ‘area commander’ of the Hizbul outfit for Chanderkoot. Younis was arrested by the troops of 23 Rashtriya Rifles on Tuesday along with another militant Akhter Hussain Zargar of Doda. Besides arms, ammunition and cash, the mobile telephone was found in possession of Younis. Younis made an attempt to destroy the handset but failed as alert troops overpowered him and seized it. Two other Cellone mobile phones, which are being used by the Hizbul militants, have been issued on the names of Hafeeza Akhter, a woman and Joginder Singh, both residents of Doda town, the investigations revealed. Investigating authorities, however, declined to disclose the two mobile numbers saying this would alert the militant commanders and they would just throw the SIM cards out. Data collected by the security agencies from mobile telephone seized from Mohd Younis has exposed several over ground contacts of the Hizbul Mujahideen militants spread from Doda and Jammu to New Delhi and Pakistan. 'Arrest of a dreaded Hizbul militant Hablal alias Iran-3 was also made possible after he made a call on the Cellone connection unaware of the fact that Younis has landed in the custody of security forces', the sources said, adding Younis was told by the agencies to seek Hablal’s address on phone. Hablal did and was arrested within one hour from Beoli, about five kms from Doda. 'We have gathered telephone numbers of 20 important contacts of the militants from the mobile', the sources disclosed. The militants had also fed telephone and mobile numbers of two Ministers and a local bureaucrat in their set but this part has nothing to do with the investigations, they said and added that the numbers might have been listed in the telephone to issue them threatening calls. The mobile phone of Mohd Younis kept on ringing till the news of his arrest was first published in the press on Wednesday. 'We succeeded in getting important clues about the militants’ network from the mobile rings. More clues would have come in had the news of Younis’ arrest and recovery of a mobile telephone from him not been leaked', they said. Declining to reveal identity of the contacts exposed from the mobile telephone number, the investigators observed 'presently, we are on the job to ascertain what kind of support they had been providing to the militants'. They added that police had 'definite evidence' against the contacts in the form of mobile telephone and could arrest them any time but 'we are waiting to get more evidence'. According to them, the militants’ contacts in New Delhi have been identified as their financiers and harbourers. 'Atleast nine top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were frequently in touch with each other with mobile telephones', they said. The mobile telephones had been working very well in Bhartund, Thatha, Neel Top, Ramban, Banihal and Doda hills, where the militants have set up their hideouts, Mohd Younis revealed during interrogation. He revealed that mobile telephones were serving as a ‘parallel communication network’ for the militants. Though the militants might be benefiting from Cellone mobile telephone service elsewhere in the State, this is for the first time that their 'mobile network' has been unearthed with chance recovery of a mobile telephone. The Cellone service was launched in Doda in February this year. With apprehensions aired from security agencies that the mobile telephone could fall in the hands of anti-national elements, the BSNL authorities had incorporated a verification form, which had to be attested by a Gazetted Officer, before a subscriber was issued the SIM card. The investigations revealed that the militants had procured the SIM connections from the civilians—either using their links or paying money. The civilian, whose SIM card was being used by Mohd Younis, has been detained for questioning while police was waiting for recovery of two more mobile phones, whose numbers have been identified, before arresting the civilians who had been issued the SIM cards. A First Information Report (FIR) in the mobile telephones landing in the hands of militants has been registered under Section Nos. 4-5 Explosives Act, 121, 121-A, 120-B, 122 and 123 RPC at Doda police station. Sources said police authorities in the areas, where the militants’ contacts (identified from the mobile telephone) were staying, have been alerted to keep a strict vigil on them till they are arrested. This is being done to ensure they they don’t manage to escape.


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