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Illegal satellite phones posing security threat in NE

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, Sept 27 � Frequent use of illegally procured satellite phones in the North East region, calls of which can be traced by China, posed a grave threat to the security of the nation and the Assam Police has already reported the matter to Delhi for taking necessary action.

Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that there are strong regulations for use of satellite phones in India and most of the leaders of the militant groups of the North East are using illegally procured satellite phones, while, some other influential people are also using such phones.

Sources pointed out that satellite phones can be used in India only with permission from the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and only specific type of INMARSAT are permitted. But there have been instances of use of Thurya satellite phone manufactured by a company with its headquarters in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the North East region. The security agencies of India cannot keep surveillance of the calls made through such satellite phones and that is why no one is permitted to use that type of phones.

Security sources said that recently, the security agencies came across one instance of a Delhi based businessman managing to procure a number of Thurya satellite phones from Dubai and he managed to sell a number of such phones to some persons in Arunachal Pradesh. Sources said that the Delhi based businessman sold at least 10 such phones to influential persons in Arunachal Pradesh and a few senior political leaders of the state also reportedly used such phones.

But the most disturbing fact is that the phones cannot be kept under surveillance by the security agencies. But as Chinese cash cards are used in those phones, China can keep the phones under surveillance and the use of such phones in the North East is posing a threat to the security of India. The Chinese cards used in the phones are freely available not only in Dubai, but also in Bangladesh and Myanmar. However, it is not yet known whether such Chinese cards are available anywhere in India, sources admitted.

Meanwhile, sources said that almost all the leaders of the militant groups of North East including the leaders of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) are using Thurya satellite phones and the security agencies are finding it difficult to trace out the location of the users of such phones. At one point of time, even the battalion commanders of the ULFA were using such phones instead of using normal mobile phones to avoid detection by the security agencies. But interestingly, China can keep surveillance on the satellite phones used by the militants of the region.

On the other hand, some of the some of the Lenovo laptop computers manufactured in China were found to be infected with a virus with which one can keep surveillance over the machines. But it is not known whether such virus was loaded into the machines on some purpose or not, sources added.

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Illegal satellite phones posing security threat in NE

GUWAHATI, Sept 27 � Frequent use of illegally procured satellite phones in the North East region, calls of which can be traced by China, posed a grave threat to the security of the nation and the Assam Police has already reported the matter to Delhi for taking necessary action.

Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that there are strong regulations for use of satellite phones in India and most of the leaders of the militant groups of the North East are using illegally procured satellite phones, while, some other influential people are also using such phones.

Sources pointed out that satellite phones can be used in India only with permission from the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and only specific type of INMARSAT are permitted. But there have been instances of use of Thurya satellite phone manufactured by a company with its headquarters in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the North East region. The security agencies of India cannot keep surveillance of the calls made through such satellite phones and that is why no one is permitted to use that type of phones.

Security sources said that recently, the security agencies came across one instance of a Delhi based businessman managing to procure a number of Thurya satellite phones from Dubai and he managed to sell a number of such phones to some persons in Arunachal Pradesh. Sources said that the Delhi based businessman sold at least 10 such phones to influential persons in Arunachal Pradesh and a few senior political leaders of the state also reportedly used such phones.

But the most disturbing fact is that the phones cannot be kept under surveillance by the security agencies. But as Chinese cash cards are used in those phones, China can keep the phones under surveillance and the use of such phones in the North East is posing a threat to the security of India. The Chinese cards used in the phones are freely available not only in Dubai, but also in Bangladesh and Myanmar. However, it is not yet known whether such Chinese cards are available anywhere in India, sources admitted.

Meanwhile, sources said that almost all the leaders of the militant groups of North East including the leaders of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) are using Thurya satellite phones and the security agencies are finding it difficult to trace out the location of the users of such phones. At one point of time, even the battalion commanders of the ULFA were using such phones instead of using normal mobile phones to avoid detection by the security agencies. But interestingly, China can keep surveillance on the satellite phones used by the militants of the region.

On the other hand, some of the some of the Lenovo laptop computers manufactured in China were found to be infected with a virus with which one can keep surveillance over the machines. But it is not known whether such virus was loaded into the machines on some purpose or not, sources added.