With no internet on mobile networks, Kashmir militants go back to using satellite telephones.
Srinagar: In the absence of internet services in Jammu and Kashmir, militants have turned into’traditional modes of communicating’, based on intelligence reports obtained by the J&K Police.
Following an online blackout was enforced in J&K ahead of the scrapping of Article 370 by the Narendra Modi government, militant groups working from the Valley were initially relying upon word communicating, but are currently using internet-enabled satellite phones, sources said.
Net-enabled satellite phones are like contemporary smartphones, however they link directly to satellites instead of using mobile towers for internet access. The authorities are now ascertaining the scale at which these satellite phones are being used. Official sources said the authorities have discovered net-enabled satellite phones used in Kashmir on at least two events in the previous two months.
Why militants switched to satellite phones.
Prior to the advent of mobile phones, Thuraya satellite telephones were one of the most preferred modes of communication one of the militants.
According to senior security officials, use of the phones, known as’Suraya’ in militant parlance, diminished since services such as SMS and mobile internet gave them an easier way to communicate with one another in addition to their direction in Pakistan.
‘It is not that the militants had fully stopped using satellite phones. During many experiences, we recovered the apparatus. Security forces would also recover the devices from infiltrating militants too. However the use of satellite apparatus had massively reduced through time,’ said a senior J&K Police officer, who didn’t wish to be named.
‘There’s an understanding that some internet-based programs are safer modes of communication that can’t be traced. Militants resorted to using these applications not just for passing messages but additionally sending tons of places,’ the officer said.
In the initial days of this communication blackout in Jammu and Kashmir, militant groups allegedly began relying on word of mouth to pass messages. However, the police officer stated they are now getting’new inputs which the militant groups might now be using satellite telephones again’, and that using the new net-enabled ones,’they cannot just communicate with each other but also use the internet for multiple purposes’.
Decrease in counter-insurgency
But, other senior police officials advised ThePrint that the online ban had also directly influenced the security forces’ intelligence-gathering mechanism, resulting in a decrease in counter insurgency operations.
‘We are, nevertheless, using all means available to us to gather intelligence.
On the outskirts, we are inclined to get reports of militant sightings, but after CASOs are ran more routinely, the militants will not take chances to enter Srinagar.’