Tactical Shift: Militants give up use of mobile phones
Srinagar, April 30: After facing several setbacks over the past several years, the militants in Kashmir have abandoned use of mobile phones, making it harder for counter-insurgency agencies to track them. Following the change in strategy by militants, the security and intelligence agencies have also started relying on traditional sources for spying. “The recent attacks carried out by militants shows their potential and the security grid to counter the militancy is looking for re-activating former traditional sources to spy on militants as there is no more use of cell phones,” said a senior security official, wishing not to be named.
The official said that in the past several years use of cell phone proved costly for the militants as they were easily tracked. “These days Facebook and other social networking sites are largely being used by the militants to plan operational activities. But almost all are using fake profiles that is why we have been unable to crack whip on major modules of outfits in recent past,” the official added. The official, however, said traditional sources could be re-employed as a strategy to make inroads into militant outfits. The official said they came to know about the change in strategy of militants after interrogating some Over Ground Workers (OGWs) and militants.
However, another official who is also extensively involved in counter-insurgency operations said the clue of using social networks like facebook has came to fore from last call of Muzamil alias Urfi of Sopore last year in October wherein he discussed about his facebook messages with family. “The call Muzamil made to his family was tip of an iceberg for us. He spoke about chatting on facebook with his uncle so we started tracking the facebook accounts since then,” said the official. The phone call made by Muzamil few minutes before he got killed in an encounter in October 2012 turned viral on Facebook and Youtube with thousands of hits. In his call, Muzamil asked his mother to pay regards to his uncle as he didn’t reply his messages he had sent him on internet.
Sources said militants have made significant comeback and has earned them sympthasizers across valley. “The militants managed to take benefits of last three uprisings and are gaining the lost ground. Srinagar city, which was apparently militancy free, has witnessed steep rise in violence. It suggests that they have now successfully made inroads into the city also,” said the sources, adding that tackling present status of militancy is a bigger challenge as it is well organized.