SIA searches several locations in Kashmir for misuse of SIM cards for terrorist purposes
Srinagar: In a crackdown on the misuse of SIM cards by militants and their fraudulent sale by telecom providers, the Jammu and Kashmir State Investigation Agency (SIA) has raided 19 premises in the Valley on Saturday, officials said.
The raids came in the face of “the ever-increasing misuse of SIM cards by terrorists”, their surface workers (OGW), drug traffickers and other criminals, they said.
“The SIA in 11 different cases of FIR carried out searches in 19 premises spread across Kashmir,” the officials said.
The majority of the premises were owned by point-of-sale (POS) vendors who were selling these SIM cards in violation of Department of Telecommunications regulations and in a manner that amounts to counterfeiting and cheating, they said.
Officials said that in three cases, preliminary evidence “strongly indicates” that SIM cards were purchased to help terrorists maintain communication with their dog handlers across the border and other modules at inside J&K.
Giving examples of abuse, officials said that an outlet vendor at Chawalgam in Kulgam by the name of M/S Airtel Micro World created a SIM card against a non-existent fictitious person, namely Gowhar Ahmad Hajam, and gave the card to someone in Qaimoh. in Kulgam which turned out to be an OGW of the terrorist group Ansar-Gazwat-ul-Hind.
In another case, an POS vendor in Mir Mohalla Monghall of Anantnag created a SIM card for a subscriber who handed it over to an OGW organization of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), officials said.
The homes of the three – the seller, the subscriber and the OGW – were searched for additional evidence, officials said.
In a third case, four outlet vendors – one belonging to Konibal in Pampore, another in Walina, Ichgam in Budgam, the third in Barzullah in Srinagar and the fourth in Lasjan – created SIM cards in the name of real people by stealing and misusing their identity documents, officials said.
Subsequently, they said, these POS vendors fraudulently gave the SIM cards to unauthorized persons without the knowledge of the original persons.
Authorities have moved to crack down on POS SIM card vendors who steal identity documents from unsuspecting subscribers and create SIM cards without the knowledge of the original subscribers, officials said.
“Similarly, PoS SIM card vendors who are caught creating SIM cards based on false documents in the names of people who do not exist in real life will also be prosecuted under the strictest legal provisions. Action would also be taken against POS SIM card sellers and subscribers who obtain more than six SIM cards, which is the maximum number of SIM cards a person is allowed,” they said.
Officials “strongly” advised phone service providers to maintain a proper database to prevent dishonest POS SIM card sellers and subscribers from tricking the system into not disclosing their already issued SIM cards obtained from other providers. services when applying for new additional cards.
The administration is also considering making it a crime for someone to voluntarily give their SIM card to someone other than a family member for occasional and emergency use, they said.
Officials asked POS SIM card vendors and individual subscribers to voluntarily report to the police station and surrender their excess SIM cards (more than six), “to escape criminal liability.”
“POS SIM card sellers who issued SIM cards under different names using a person’s photo are also subject to search and, if found guilty, are subject to arrest in addition to be blacklisted from all government benefits and contracts,” the officials said. mentioned.