By Wasim Ahmed / Taazakhabar News Bureau
Militants opened indiscriminate fire at the staterun BSNL office in the Sopore town in the Baramulla district on the Baramulah-Srinagar highway Kashmir, killing at least one person and injuring two others.
According to the Superintendent of Police in Sopore, Abdul Qayoom, militants opened fire at the BSNL franchise showroom at around 10.30 am. The owner of the franchise, an employee and a customer were injured in the attack and had to be rushed to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital in Srinagar.
No arrests have been made so far.
This follows threats by militants to telecoms companies to leave Kashmir amidst allegations that they were helping Indian security agencies in intelligence gathering.
They telecom companies were warned against selling any new SIM card or recharge coupons and to shut down the mobile towers. The militant’s dictate specifically asked them to wind up operations within a week’s time. Earlier this week, a grenade was lobbed at the mobile tower of a telephone company to sonvey the seriousness of the warning.
The militants were particularly annoyed because a high-frequency transmitter installed by them on a Airtel mobile towers was removed. The militants suspected the employees of the mobile service providers to be plants or on the payrolls of the intelligence agencies.
Since then many telecoms operators have scaled down operations in different parts of the valley.
Earlier this month two pistol-wielding militants entered the office of a private telecom company in Sopore and walked away with their laptops.
Sopore has been a major trading center in Kashmir which became an important hub of militant activity. The writ of militants used to be the rule of law here. Such was the terror that Sopore came to be called mini-Pakistan and a den of militancy. Many Pakistani flags could be seen fluttering on the street corners.
There was a time when the Army conveys on the Srinagar Baramullah route were officially ordered to by-pass Sopore so as to avoid unnecessary confrontation.
The militants named the roads and crossings in Sopore after slain Pakistani militants.
The town also had a sizeable Kashmiri Pundit population which migrated to other parts of India in the 90s. Since the day the militants were used to doing what they wanted. The burnt the SSP office, AGs office and many other symbols of government authority.