Amid internet shutdown terrorists increase use of satellite phones in Kashmir
In a significant development, security forces in Jammu and Kashmir have found terrorists using satellite phones to communicate as internet and pre-paid mobile connectivity in the region remains shut since August 5, when the central government revoked special status.
Sources in the Jammu and Kashmir police told WION that during the Gandarbal operation last month, one Thuraya satellite phone was recovered from the terrorists and later, a satellite phone location was detected in the Anchar area of Soura in Srinagar.
In September, the Indian army had launched a massive operation in the mountains of Gandarbal, killing two terrorists and later arresting two over-ground workers. The activity continued for almost 20 days.
A senior police officer while confirming the recovery of a satellite phone told WION that “a satellite phone was recovered from the terrorists in Gandarbal district of central Kashmir after they were eliminated.”
“It seems that terrorists are adapting the old communication tactics,” the top police officer said while speaking over the phone, adding that “a location was traced last week around Soura area of Srinagar, leading security forces to launch a search operation,”
On November 17, a cordon-and-search operation was launched in the Anchar area of Soura after the counter-insurgency group in the valley traced the satellite phone location.
The police source said that these modern satellite phones are internet-enabled which connects directly to satellite from any location, unlike the common mobile phone which connects to the terrestrial mobile sites. Authorities had provided high ranking officials with satellite phones when communication was completely shut in the erstwhile state.
However, the use of satellite phones isn’t new in Kashmir. After the terrorism erupted in Kashmir and the absence of mobile communication, terrorists used Thuraya satellite phones to speak with their counterparts and operators based in Pakistan and the valley.
Due to the partial mobile communication shutdown and internet gag, terrorists have been finding it hard to communicate. After the mobile internet became widely available in the Kashmir, terrorists were using mobile applications that are hard to detect for the anti-terrorism groups. This led to a decrease in the use of satellite phones.
Several such types of equipment have been recovered from time to time, especially from the groups attempting to infiltrate on the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. The communication shutdown had also affected the counter-insurgency operation in the union territory leading to a few encounters.
On September 19, J&K police had arrested a foreign national who was using Thuraya satellite phone in Ladakh illegally.
Source: DNA India