Srinagar : A spate of attacks against telecom employees and those who have rented out space for installation of mobile towers in their fields has thrown the communication system in north Kashmir’s Baramulla into disarray.
The reason is that the telecom employees have stopped maintaining the mobile towers and those having franchise of telecom companies have started distancing themselves. Two people were killed in the last six days as militants carried out four attacks since last Saturday, mainly targeting those associated with telecom sector.
“The attacks started from Sophore town and spread to adjacent areas. We have had three attacks in the last few days and we are looking into them,” IG S J M Gilani said.
Asked about the reason behind such attacks, the IG said, “The militants had installed a communication device atop one of the towers which went missing. So they were looking for it and pressurizing telecom operators and tower owners to give it back.”
“We are increasing general security in the area. There are around 190 odd towers in Sopore area and 700 in Baramulla district.
“We are focusing on restoring key towers so that services do not get affected,” Gilani said.
Another police official said that only BSNL towers were functioning as they are set up in safe areas. “The power supply to other towers has been snapped by cellular companies and employees are not maintaining them,” he said.
In a series of such attacks since last Saturday, a grenade was hurled at a residence where a mobile transmission tower was installed, but it failed to explode.
Suspected militants on Monday shot dead an employee of a BSNL franchisee and injured two others in Sopore town.
The father of a sarpanch, who had a mobile transmission tower installed inside his residential compound, was on Tuesday shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Sopore town.
Another person, who has mobile transmission towers installed inside his residential compound, was injured when unidentified gunmen fired upon him on Wednesday in the Pattan area of the north Kashmir district.
Several separatist and militant outfits, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul-Mujahideen, have condemned the attacks.