Ravi Shankar Prasad

Attack on telecom towers displays separatists’ desperation: RS Prasad

Separatists trying to use telecom towers in Kashmir indicates their desperation, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today, while asking the state government to ensure the safety of communications infrastructure.

A spate of attacks against telecom employees and those who have rented out space for installation of mobile towers in their fields has thrown the communication system in north Kashmir’s Baramulla into disarray.

Suspected militants on Monday shot dead an employee of a BSNL franchisee and injured two others in Sopore town.

“I sympathise for death of BSNL employees in J&K. I am in touch with senior officers there… Some separatist elements trying to use our towers is a clear indication of how desperate they are,” Prasad said at a Cabinet briefing here.

Following the attacks, telecom employees have stopped maintaining the mobile towers and those having franchise of telecom companies started distancing themselves from such services.

“I request J&K government that tower safety is necessary to ensure that there are no call drops. I commend the courage shown by our BSNL officers to protect the towers,” Prasad said.

Although officials were tight-lipped as to why the militants were targeting telecom installations, sources said the ultras were upset about “theft” of their communication equipment from mobile transmission towers in Sopore and surrounding areas earlier this month.

The militants had allegedly installed communication equipment atop the towers of private and PSU companies. (Agencies)

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