Militant Unleash New War To Enforce Communication Blockade In North Kashmir

27 May 2015

Srinagar: Mobile telephony has become the latest casualty in the war between the suspected militants and the security forces in the apple rich township of Sopore. For the second time in the last two days, suspected militants assassinated a man associated with mobile operations in a bid to enforce the telecommunication shutdown in the apple rich township of Sopore. Fifty five year old Ghulam Hassan Dar was killed when suspected militants barged into his house in Dooru village of Sopore on Tuesdaynight. Dar's only crime was that he had rented out his land to service providers for setting up mobile tower, which he had not switched off despite militant threats. 'Five days before some unknown armed people wearing masks had visited our house and threatened us to switch off the tower. Initially, we switched off the tower but there was a pressure from the company. They (service providers) told us how can you switch off the tower when no other company has done it in the area. Later we again switched it', said Tanveer Ahmad, slain Dar's son. On Tuesday night, when the family was watching television, the gun men barged into the house and asked Dar to come out. 'Three people came and told my father why he did not switch off the tower. Later they opened heavy volume fire and killed my father,' said Tanveer. This is the second killing in the last two days in the apple rich township of North Kashmir. On Monday heavily armed militants attacked a BSNL franchisee office in broad day light leaving one employee Rafiq Ahmad dead and injuring two others. Fear has gripped the people associated with mobile operations in Sopore and Baramulla townships following the spate of assassinations. Mobile operations in two towns have been severely disrupted as several towers have been shut owing to militant threats. More than 1,000 retailers dealing with phone recharges have been closed down in the two townships. Six mobile companies are providing services in Baramulla and Sopore townships. Tensions started building early this month after police busted the hi-tech communication system of suspected militants in Sopore. Police sources said the militants had secretly planted a highly sophisticated antenna and radio communication devices on the mobile tower of a service provider in Badami Bagh of Sopore in a bid to have a safer and wider coverage away from the prying eyes of the security agencies. However, the equipment went missing prompting the militants to blow-off their cover in a bid to recover the devices. Armed militants had even walked into the showrooms of cellular operators and threatened their employees to hand over the devices or be ready for the consequences. Later the posters of hitherto unknown Lashkar-e-Islam also surfaced in the township asking the mobile operators to wind up their businesses. United Jihad Council, an umbrella group of over a dozen militant outfits based in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), was quick to denounce Lashkar-e-Islam posters and blamed the security agencies for the killing. Even Hizb-ul-Mujhadeen posters appeared denouncing the Lashkar-e-Islam posters calling for mobile operations shutdown in Sopore. Police however rejected the militant claims saying they have identified the group which carried out the attack. 'We have identified the militants involved in these attacks. They are involved in both the killings. Efforts are on to track them down', Abdul Qayoom, senior superintendent of police, Sopore told dna.