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Soon, mobile connections may be harder to get

August 10, 2008 20:29 IST

In its efforts to check the use of mobile phones in terror activities, the Ministry of Home Affairs is likely to advice the Department of Telecommunication to direct all mobile phone operators to get two existing cellular customers as guarantors before issuing SIM card to new customers.

The MHA, which is all set to approach the DoT very soon, is likely to suggest that the mobile phone operators must have the guarantors on the lines of opening a bank account.

"We wanted to have a mechanism where a common person can get a SIM card without any hassles and other security concerns are also met," Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta said.    

The issue was discussed in great detail at Friday's meeting of top civil and police officials of the state convened by the Home Ministry in the wake of back-to-back serial blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad [Images].

Mobile phones are being used by terrorists to trigger IEDs at Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad in May 2007 as well as passing messages to their handlers in Pakistan and Bangladesh, sources said.

Gupta said his Ministry intended to have a 'focussed discussion' with the Department of Telecommunication on the issue of SIM cards.

"Various problems (on SIM cards) have been identified. We want to deal with them," he said.

The Ministry is likely to suggest the DoT to come out with guidelines that makes it mandatory for SIM card vendors to take instant photograph of new customers, sources said.
At Friday's meeting, the top officials of the states favoured strict guidelines for new mobile phone connections to check the growing incidents of terrorists using mobile phones to explode bombs.

The Home Ministry earlier had also discussed with the DoT the issue of developing a mechanism through which SIM cards could be issued without any kind of 'mismatch'.

Gupta also cited a case where one person had been issued 50 SIM cards in a period of three months.

"There are also issues of pre-verifications, post-verifications, identification of a person when he goes to buy a SIM card," Gupta said.

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