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Khalistani militants ditch technology, worry IB

August 30, 2010 16:07 IST

In stark contrast to their technology-savvy counterparts in Pakistan, Khalistani militants in India have decided to take a step backwards and ban the use of mobile phones among their cadres.

No use of mobile phones while carrying out operations in India -- that is the clear directive that has been given to two militant outfits -- the Babbar Khalsa International and the Khalistan Zindabad Force. A communication of the Intelligence Bureau -- which was first sent out to the Punjab police and later to all police stations in north India -- has urged policemen to keep a close watch on terror cells and modules since these militants have stopped communicating via mobile devices.

This particular strategy has become a major headache for security forces across northern India since it is virtually impossible for them to track down the movements of these operatives. This new strategy has come in the wake of a resurgence in the activities of Khalistani militants. Intelligence agencies also suspect that the Khalistani militants may target the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

After the Centre started cracking down on terror modules via their Blackberry network, Khalistani militants decided to ditch their mobile phones, IB officials told rediff.com.

The Inter Services Intelligence, which controls both the BKI and the KZF, has instructed these operatives to use local telephone booths to communicate with their cadres, said sources.

"It is very difficult to track conversations when they adopt such means as there are so many booths. In fact, it is next to impossible to track communications made from STD booths. There is a need for ground level intelligence in which movements of suspects are kept under watch," an IB official told rediff.com.

IB sources say that these militants communicate with their support groups in Nepal, Pakistan and Malaysia, but it is extremely tough to monitor their ISD calls.

"Some of the militants may have already landed in India and a red alert has been issued against these cadres. The Punjab police have been told to keep a close watch since these militants are most likely to set up their primary base in the state. They are most likely to dig up sympathisers of the Khalistani movement so that they can set up their local intelligence cell," said the official.

The IB, along with the Punjab police, is carrying out extensive operations on possible bases to prevent the militants from regrouping. 

A general advisory has been issued to PCOs in Punjab and Delhi to make a note of all calls made from their booths and report about any suspicious caller to the nearest police station.

Vicky Nanjappa