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Home > News > Report

Mobile networks under watch in northeast

K Anurag in Guwahati | July 08, 2007 20:38 IST

It is no longer a cakewalk to get a mobile phone connection in the northeast infested by militants. The Department of Telecom has laid down a set of fresh strict guidelines for giving new cell phone connection by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and private mobile phone operators.

The DoT's move is aimed at preventing militants getting hooked to mobile network by taking connections using fake names. The fresh guidelines on new connections have been issued after the security forces had recovered a large number of mobile phones SIM cards from arrested and killed militants in Assam during the last couple of months.

The fresh set of DoT guidelines has made it mandatory that applications for new mobile phone connections be endorsed by a guarantor or introducer who must be a subscriber of the same service at least for the previous three months.

The mobile phone companies have been asked to cross check all documents submitted by the new subscriber through telephonic conversation, which should be recorded. CDs of such conversations should be submitted to security agencies as well the DoT.

The SIM cards must be sent to the new subscriber through the speed post service and under no circumstances should it be handed over personally, according to a source in the DoT.

In June, the Army made public a list of 221 mobile numbers used by militants operating in North Cachar hill districts of Assam. All these numbers were found to be issued against fake names without proper verification of documents and identity of the subscriber by the mobile service providers.

Assam police recently arrested a correspondent of a largely circulated Assamese Daily newspaper from Kakopathat in Tinsukia district of Assam on charges of supplying at least 23 mobile SIM cards taken in fake names to ULFA militants.
The security forces also said that at least four mobile connections used by senior ULFA leaders of the outfit's 28th battalion were issued against the address of Rajiv Bhawan, Guwahati, the State Congress headquarter.

The ruling Congress, while ruling out a militants-Congressmen nexus criticised mobile phone service providers for not verifying the address and identity of applicants properly before issuing SIM cards.

There are three private mobile phone service providers in the region, namely, Reliance [Get Quote] Telecom, Airtel and AirCel besides Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited.