GUWAHATI, Jan 2 - Frequent use of the social media by members of militant groups even to send extortion demands has caused problems for the police and security agencies as it is not easy to track the origins of such messages and very often, the militants change their phone numbers, making it even more difficult to track them down.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Special Director General of Police Kula Saikia said that of late, the militant outfits have started to use the social media, particularly WhatsApp, to send messages to businessmen and other prominent persons demanding money. He said that earlier, the militants used to call up people demanding money and it was easier to trace the calls. But it is not easy to keep tab on the messages sent through the social media.
Saikia said that so far, police does not have any information of anyone paying the demanded money to the militants. He said that the militants, instead of sending their own members, have started sending linkmen to collect money and several such persons have been arrested.
The Special DG revealed that there have been a few instances of the militants using SIM cards taken in the neighbouring states, including Nagaland, and the matter has been taken up with the Government of Nagaland. He said that in a few cases, the militants also used numbers taken in foreign countries to send such WhatsApp messages.
Saikia said the mobile phone service providers should be careful while issuing SIM cards and they should thoroughly check all the credentials of the applicants before issuing SIM cards. He called upon the mobile service providers to get in touch with the police and security forces if they have any doubt on the credentials of the applicants.
Meanwhile, security sources pointed out that the phone calls were easier to trace as the police or security agencies could ask the service providers to keep tab on the calls made from suspected numbers. But it is not possible to track the WhatsApp messages which come through the internet.
�We can always ask for the details from the service providers, which are located in the United States of America. But this is a long process and by the time we manage to obtain the details, the unscrupulous elements can always change their location or even the phone numbers that they are using,� sources added.