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Defence Ministry seeks selective ban on mobile Internet in J&K

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

To cripple the misuse of mobile phone services by terrorists, the Defence Ministry has asked the Department of Telecom to selectively ban mobile Internet in some places considered 'hot spots' in Jammu and Kashmir.

The ministry has raised an alarm about terrorists making phone calls using mobile Internet and asked DoT to take up the matter with the Home Ministry and the National Technical Research Organisation "for interception and selective banning of GPRS service in select terrorist hot spots within the legal ambit," sources said.

These "communication services" need to be "denied" in the affected areas for effective conduct of counter insurgency and terrorist operations, official sources added.

The ministry also asked the DoT to exclude J&K from the proposed plan for full mobile number portability, which allows customers to retain their phone numbers in any part of the country even after changing operators.

Under the National Telecom Policy, the government has envisaged the concept of 'One Nation One Number' by allowing full number portability.

At present, customers are allowed to switch mobile service providers without changing their numbers only within a state or service area. Full mobile number portability is yet to be approved by the government.

As of December 2013, about 18,000 subscribers in J&K have used the facility.

Exclusion from the 'One Nation One Number' plan will mean mobile numbers purchased in J&K can be used outside the state only on roaming, making them easier to track by security forces.

The ministry also raised concern over mobile signals from towers located in Pakistan penetrating into India up to 20 kilometres from the Line of Control.

"The matter (mobile signals from Pakistan) may be taken up with Ministry of External Affairs so that the same is resolved in accordance with policy guidelines by International Telecom Union," official sources said.

ITU is a body under the United Nations that deals in global telecommunication matters.

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First Published: Tue, March 11 2014. 17:27 IST