Militants are using satellite phones for communication across Kashmir in the absence of internet and pre-paid mobile services in the Valley, J&K Police said.
Last week, a cordon and search operation was conducted in Anchar area on the outskirts of Srinagar on suspicion that a satellite phone was being used in the area. “Vague location of this satellite phone was traced to somewhere in Anchar area, therefore, CASO was launched,” a national news daily report said quoting a senior police officer.
Earlier this month, J&K Police had recovered a satellite phone from two encounter spots in northern Kashmir.
Sajad Shah, SP of J&K Police, said, “We conducted a speculative CASO in Anchar area. There was no specific input, but we didn’t want to take any chance.” Another police officer said that a local was detained from the area and the CASO was a “mopping operation” and that militants have gone back to using the traditional Thuraya satellite phones.
Police said that since revocation of the special status of Kashmir on August 5, militants have also attempted to take advantage of the communication blockade and make inroads into the summer capital Srinagar, which due to heightened security usually remains a transit route. Over the last few months, the number of cordon and search operations in and around Srinagar has suddenly increased, with authorities detaining some people in this connection.
According to police, after August 5, militant movement was observed on the outskirts of Srinagar in Nowgam and Parimpora areas. J&K Police and other agencies said there could be four or five active militants in Srinagar.
Since August 5, the armed forces have killed 20 militants in encounters at different places. The number is much lower than that in the same time period of 2017. “Militant activities have reduced since August 5 because of communication blockade, but they tried to strengthen their human resource network,” another police officer was quoted saying in the national daily report. The armed forces and other intelligence agencies put the total number of active militants across J&K anywhere between 250 and 300.