The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has blocked a south Kashmir-based journalist’s mobile phone ‘for security reasons’ even as the Jammu and Kashmir police and the security agencies insisted that no such requisition had gone to the service provider.
Maqbool Veeray of Anantnag, working for daily Kashmir Images, Urdu newspaper Chattan and All India Radio, complained that his phone number was deactivated without any information on January 4. He had been using the number since 2004. For the last 15 years, Mr. Veeray has functioned as a correspondent of Radio Kashmir’s daily news and current affairs programme Sheherbeen.
BSNL staff at Anantnag told him that there could be some trouble with his phone set or a scratch on the SIM card. Saturday being a holiday, he was told to collect a duplicate SIM on Monday.
On Monday, he was told by the local BSNL officials that his SIM had been “permanently blocked on the written orders of the security agencies.” When he protested and threatened legal action, he was requested to accept a fresh number.
“The BSNL men were extremely sympathetic to me. They said they were helpless. They spoke to the general manager and commercial officer in Srinagar. Initially, I was told that even the new number could not be allotted to me. But, later the commercial officer asserted to them that a telephone could not be denied to a genuine subscriber. They demanded a fresh application and issued a new SIM,” Mr. Veeray said.
Officials in the State and the Central agencies refused to say anything on record.