After mysterious attacks, communication breakdown in North Kashmir

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Apple town Sopore witnessed a complete communication breakdown on Thursday as all the towers of the private cellular companies have become non-operational after the threat from unknown gunmen to cellular companies to windup their business in the town.

“The lone BSNL tower located in Model Town Sopore is functional but it is not helping people to get connected with their dear ones as only two percent of the population in the town is availing the services of this state owned company. Sopore has slipped back to the pre-2000 era. People especially traders have been facing tremendous problems but are tight lipped due to fear psychosis,” a shopkeeper Ghulam Muhammad told CNS.

Most of the people from Sopore and its adjacent areas who spoke to this reporter said that recent killings of people associated with telecom business has shocked as well confused them. “We are confused and fail to understand which group is involved in the killings and why they are hell-bent to put people into trouble. The communication breakdown has frustrated people especially the younger ones and traders,” said a group of people.

“We will appreciate the job of police if they will expose the killers and restore the communication system in the town. How long such people can suppress us and make us suffer day in and day out,” a college going student told CNS.

Reports said that at least 35 people have been picked up by police for questioning. Sources said that most of the people who have been called to police station for questioning include the former militants and those youth who have previously been arrested for stone-pelting charges.

Army patrolling parties were seen present around various mobile towers in Sopore town on Thursday. “Army personnel have asked us to inform them immediately if they observe any suspicious movement,” a landlord who has given land to a mobile company for tower purposes told CNS on condition of anonymity.

This reporter talked to various landlords who have rented their land for tower installation. All these people said that they are scared and want round the clock patrolling in the town. “Not a single mobile tower except the BSNL one, which is under the tight vigil of the security forces, is operational in the town. We have already requested the cellular companies to dismantle these towers without any delay,” the landlords said.

Reports said that after the attacks, the employees who were working with private cellular companies have left their jobs and it has victimized scores of families. “I will not let my son to continue his job in the company now. It is better for him to be unemployed than to work at a place where his life is under threat,” said a mother.

Meanwhile, in North Kashmir’s Pattan town, the cellular towers also have gone defunct as a result the town witnesses communication breakdown like in Sopore. Unknown gunmen had struck on Wednesday evening injuring Imtiyaz Ahmed who had provided land to a cellular company to install tower in Armmohalla Pattan. Though, Imtiyaz survived and was discharged from the hospital on Thursday afternoon, yet this attack created panic among other landlords who forced cellular companies to make the towers non-operational.

Reports said that except BSNL tower, all other towers of the private cellular companies went out of order in Pattan, resulting the communication breakdown in the town and its adjacent areas. (CNS)

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