Erring telecom franchisees may be charged under UAPA in J&K

New Delhi: The government is contemplating booking telecom franchisees in Jammu and Kashmir under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) if they violate norms in issuing SIM cards following inputs that terrorists were still getting mobile connections.

Government sources said the proposal to book telecom franchisees was made by representatives from Jammu and Kashmir at a meeting held by Union Home Secretary G K Pillai with representatives from both Department of Telecom and the state government besides others.

Department of Telecom Secretary P J Thomas, who was also present at the meeting, tried to highlight the steps taken by the department but drew a blank when asked to specify about the steps taken in Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said.

The DoT Secretary later said the department will apprise the next meeting of the penalties to be imposed on erring telecom franchisees, sources said.

The meeting came close on the heels of reports that militants were still getting SIM cards.

Besides booking the telecom franchisees found violating the norms, the state government also favoured imposition of heavy fines.

Issuance of SIM cards in Jammu and Kashmir has been a major issue before the government as well as various security agencies.

The primary reason is that a large number of SIM cards were issued without proper verification and militants used them for communication.

The government has taken a number of steps to check this and has introduced tough conditions for issuance of SIM cards in the state.