Kashmir prepaid mobile phone ban to stay for now: official

Jammu, Nov 27 (Inditop.com) The ban on prepaid mobile phones in Jammu and Kashmir is unlikely to be lifted soon as the government suspects that terrorists are still using prepaid services that are yet to expire, an official said.

The union home ministry has said the ban would be lifted only after it was established that terrorists had no access to the facility, a senior government official here told IANS on condition of anonymity.

He added that New Delhi had imposed the ban only after sounding out the state government.

“It was not a secret. Home Minister P. Chidambaram had declared it at his press conference in Srinagar on Oct 14 that such a move was in the offing,” the official said.

As per a notification of the union home ministry, all cell phone service providers in Jammu and Kashmir had been instructed to stop issuing new SIM cards for prepaid mobile connections and not to recharge the existing ones after Nov 1.

Spurred by security concerns, the ban came into effect from Nov 1, affecting 3.8 million subscribers across the state.

According to informed sources, many of the 3.8 million prepaid subscribers had extended their validity; some of these connections also had lifetime validity.

“It’s not a question of how many of these prepaid mobile phones were being misused. The fact is that they were being misused by terrorists for their sinister designs…they were giving orders on mobile phones and getting people killed, especially policemen,” the official added.