The security agencies raided 19 vendors across the union territory to prevent misuse of SIM cards
A large network of vendors offering SIMs on forged and fictitious identities to terrorists for conversation with handlers across the border in Pakistan has been unearthed in Jammu and Kashmir.
Attempting to thwart communication links between Pakistan-based top functionaries of proscribed terrorist outfits, the State Intelligence Agency (SIA), the anti-terror branch of Jammu and Kashmir police, raided 19 vendors spread across the union territory on increasing misuse of SIM cards.
The timing of the action is important since the snow is now melting at higher reaches due to the summer offering window for infiltration. The Army has said that about 200 terrorists are waiting at the launch pads to sneak into the Valley.
The vendors were also supplying SIM cards to narcotics smugglers and other criminals, the SIA has alleged in its eleven FIRs registered to unravel the larger game plan of terror communication. As the SIA sources stated, preliminary evidence indicates thatthe SIMs were procured to help conversation among terror modules inside the UT.
SIA sources said M/S Airtel Micro World created a SIM card against a fictitious person called Gowhar Ahmad Hajam and handed it over to a person in Qaimoh in the Kulgam areas. The person turned out to be an over ground worker (OGW) of Ansar-u-Gazwatul Hind terror outfit.
Another vendor of Mir Mohalla Monghall of Anantnag created a SIM card on assumed identity for a subscriber who handed it over to Hizbul Mujahideen outfit over ground worker. Besides that, some of the raided vendors were also stealing details of identities to make SIM cards for terrorists and their sympathisers to hoodwink the law enforcement agencies. They gave SIM cards for anti-national activities without the nod of persons whose personal details were illegaly used, said the SIA officials.
Terrorists keep shifting modes of communication to avoid interception by the police and intelligence agencies. Some time back, it is learnt, they had moved out of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to Telegram, Signal and other free social media platforms to remain in touch with their handlers in Pakistan. Besides, they also use Pakistan telecom network SIM cards to avoid detection.