Telecom Outlets Remove Sign Boards

26 May 2015
Kashmir Observer


Sopore: A day after an attack on a Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) franchise here, all the telecom outlets, showrooms, offices and other retailers were shut in twin towns of Sopore and Baramulla in north Kashmir. Unidentified gunmen yesterday had barged into Iqra Telecommunications- a franchise of State-run BSNL at Shah Faisal Market - and fired at three persons there. The three of the injured, including outlet owner, were rushed to SMHS hospital Srinagar where one of them died. Such is the fear that on Tuesday retailers associated with telecom business in this apple town removed their sign boards from their facades. 'I don't want to take any chances. Unknown gunmen have threatened the people associated with telecom business to windup their businesses. I am doing the same and that is why I removed the sign boards of these cellular companies,' a shopkeeper said. 'Please don't mention my name but it is true that pre-paid subscribers have been facing tremendous problem in the town as they don't get recharge from anywhere. About 95 percent people in the town are pre-paid subscribers. I have some recharge coupons but I will not recharge anyone's cell phone. There is threat and we all know how a BSNL employee was killed. His killing shocked us all and we have been feeling uneasy,' another telecom operator said. Meanwhile the Vodafone tower located at Chinkipora Sopore has become defunct after the landlord asked the company to stop using the tower. 'I have a family and I love my children. I don't want anyone attack my family for allowing Cellular Company to run its tower from my piece of land. I have already asked the Vodafone Company to stop using the tower and they obliged,' said a landlord who wished not to be named. Cellular outlets have been shut in the town from past three weeks. The trouble according to Police sources started when a high tech communication device installed by militants to avoid their detection by Security Agencies on the top of a mobile tower went missing. Soon after the device went missing, a group of militants raided the three cellular outlets on May 1 this month accusing employees of stealing the device. The militants according to police threatened the cellular employees of dire consequences and soon after the raid, mysterious posters in the town appeared directing telecom operators to wind up their business. The posters that carried the name of unknown militant group 'Lashkar-e-Islam' hold telecom companies responsible for the killing and arrest of militant commanders in the town and threatened them of dire consequences in case they did not close their business with in a week's time. The unknown persons on Saturday lobbed a grenade near Airtel tower causing panic in the area while on Monday these gunmen barged into the Iqra Telecom Centre and killed an employee while injuring two others including the BSNL Franchise owner Ghulam Muhammad alias Wakeel. Not a single official from any cellular company is ready to speak on issue despite the fact that these companies have incurring huge losses due to closure of their business in the town. CNS Sopore attack handiwork of agencies: Hizb Srinagar: Militant outfit Hizbul Mujhideen Tuesday claimed that attack on telecom centre in Sopore town is the handiwork of Indian agencies. In a statement to CNS, United Jihad Council spokesperson Syed Sadaqat Hussain quoting UJC Chief said that Syed Sallahudin while condemning the Sopore attack said that 'Lashkar-e-Islam' militant organization has no existence and this fictitious name is being used to defame freedom struggle and Mujhideen. 'We express our condolences to the family of the victims and assure them Mujhadeen will play their role to expose and punish these miscreants who are trying to create a wedge and spread hatred in the society,' the statement reads. 'We pray for the immediate recovery of the injured Ghulam Muhammad Bhat and Imtiyaz Ahmed and also pray to Almighty Allah to rest the soul of deceased Rafiq Ahmed in peace,' the spokesperson said. Attack carried out by militants: DGP Srinagar: DGP K Rajindra Tuesday said that police across Kashmir has been put on alert to thwart any further militant attacks. Talking to KNS, the state police chief said that such attacks of militants in the Valley were a desperate attempt to disrupt peace and tranquility in the region. 'Witnessing their space choked, militants have become frustrated and are striving to make their presence felt. Monday's attacks were the part of such a frustration,' the DGP said, adding that the security forces have been asked to remain alert to avoid any such attacks. The police chief maintained that militants 'undoubtedly have carried out the attacks in Sopore in which one person was killed and two others were injured.' 'At present as the militants are denying their involvement in such attacks but the fact remains that it was the militant attack in Sopore. Now when militants have felt that the act has evoked widespread condemnation, they are coming out and shrugging their shoulders while pleading innocence. The fact is that militants attacked the mobile out let at Sopore,' said K Rajindra.