BSNL retail franchises down shutters in Kashmir

No pre-paid BSNL cellphone subscriber could recharge his/her phone in the valley on Monday after all the five main retail franchise outlets of BSNL in the Kashmir Valley shut down their operations.

The shutdown was carried out following a rifle grenade attack here on Monday on a mobile phone tower in which the son of the tower’s landowner was injured in the old city.

It led to the main retail outlet franchises and their sub-let operators across the Kashmir Valley shutting down their businesses.

Each BSNL retail franchise outlet was operating in two districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

Posters threatening service providers have created panic among the general public after two people engaged in the cellphone business were killed in north Kashmir by separatist guerrillas.

Mobile phones have been rendered mostly non-functional in Baramulla and Kupwara districts after landowners, on whose land the cell phone towers had been set up, asked companies to stop beaming signals from these towers.

A lesser known guerrilla group, ‘Lashkar-e-Islam’, has warned cellphone companies to halt operations in the valley.

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Muzaffarabad-based chief of the guerrilla conglomerate, ‘United Jehad Council’, Syed Sallahuddin condemned the attacks.

State Director General of police K.Rajendra Kumar said: “I have no doubt these attacks have been carried out by Hizbul Mujahideen outfit”.

Sallahuddin is the supreme commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen guerrilla outfit.