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Ham operators pick up suspicious 'cross border conversation' of GJM activists

By Pradipta Tapadar
June 25, 2017 13:37 IST
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Ham radio operators working with the security forces to track down radio communications of underground Gorkha Janamukti Morcha leaders have picked up 'suspicious and coded signals' of the activists to other countries and states.

The security forces and intelligence agencies first got the clue that the GJM was using radio signals as a mode of communication when two radio sets were seized during the June 15 raid on the premises of some GJM leaders.

It was then that the police administration decided to deploy a group of Ham radio operators to track the radio communication of GJM activists.

The operators picked up the suspicious cross border signals during the drill.

Eid: 12-hr relaxation in bandh given for Muslims

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on Sunday gave a 12-hour relaxation in its indefinite strike in Darjeeling for the Muslim community on the eve of Eid.

Earlier, the GJM had offered a 12-hour 'window' to the schools in the Darjeeling hills to evacuate their students safely to Siliguri and Rongpo.

With supplies running out and the vacations to start shortly, the boarding schools of Darjeeling are facing a harrowing time due to the shutdown.

The indefinite shutdown has also hit hard the famed tea industry with the premium quality 'second flush' tea leaves going waste causing heavy losses to the garden owners and putting at stake the livelihood of more than two lakh tea workers.

"Most of the coded signals and communications were in Nepali and Tibetan languages. After decoding the words, we came to know about some kind of consignment that is about to come. The rest is classified and we cannot disclose it," an official privy to information told PTI.

Ham or amateur radio operators are under the ministry of communications and are licenced card holders to conduct such communication under specific radio frequencies.

A team of ham radio operators is monitoring the radio signals round-the-clock and another team of language experts is helping the officials break the coded language, he said.

Radio communication among leaders of pro-Gorkhaland leaders and activists has increased by 'leaps and bounds' after Internet services were suspended on June 18 and their phones are being tracked by the agencies, the official said.

Several top GJM leaders have gone into hiding after last week's violence in the hills.

According to official sources, the GJM has imparted radio communication training to its cadres and has also set up small temporary radio stations in various parts of the hills.

It is through these radio stations that such signals are being sent and received.

"Some of the radio communications have pointed out that they were well prepared for a showdown and the violence in the hills is not just an incident which happened in the heat of the moment. It was pre planned," said an official.

GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri, however, denied recovery of any kind of radio sets and called it a malicious campaign of the state government to defame the party.

11th day of strike: GJM supporters march in processions

Meanwhile, supporters of the GJM marched in processions in the Darjeeling hills as the indefinite strike demanding a separate state of 'Gorkhaland' entered the eleventh day on Sunday.

GJM supremo Bimal Gurung on Saturday night in a video message asked everyone to hit the streets and cautioned that some leaders from other parties might try to 'betray' the Gorkhaland agitation.

"I urge everyone to hit the streets in protest. All leaders should hit the streets with workers and the common people. We are ready for talks only on the issue of Gorkhaland, not on any alternative formula," Gurung said in a video message.

"Some leaders of different parties may betray our cause. Remember that one day, everyone has to die. Either my body will go home or I will return with Gorkhland," he said.

Except medicine shops, all other shops and markets, schools and colleges remained closed. Vehicles were also off the roads.

Internet services remained suspended for the eighth day. Security forces have been patrolling the streets. Elected members of the Gorkha Territorial Administration, belonging to the GJM, have already resigned from the autonomous body.

The party has decided to burn copies of the GTA Accord, reached in 2011 between the Union home ministry, the West Bengal government and the GJM, on June 26 and 27.

IMAGE: Supporters of GJM hold placards and raise slogans as they take part in a mass rally to demand for separate state of Gorkhaland in Siliguri. Photograph: PTI Photo

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Pradipta Tapadar
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