Illegal SIMs used in all GH kidnappings

SHILLONG: Use of illegal SIMs has been the common feature in all the 87 cases of abductions reported in Garo Hills this year.
Police sources from Garo Hills informed that during the recent visit of DGP Rajiv Mehta to Garo Hills, all the district police chiefs were asked to study the 87 abduction cases reported in Garo Hills in 2015 and find the crucial factors that helped militants and other armed criminal gangs in commuting these crimes.
Police sources also revealed that out of the 87 cases reported, 62 kidnappings were committed by armed criminal gangs and seven by GNLA while the rest of the abductions were carried out by other armed groups such as ASAK, AMEF and LAEF.
According to police, pre-activated SIMs originating from Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Assam have become the main source of communication for militants and criminals alike. In all the extortion notes sent to victims by GNLA, ASAK, LAEF and AMEF, the indicated mobile phone numbers for contact and negotiation have been found to have originated in the eastern states, police said.
Similarly, in all the kidnapping cases, police obtained the phone numbers used by the kidnappers from the victims       and their families. On verification from the service providers, police found that all the SIMs used by the kidnappers had been pre-activated in Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura.
“Militants and criminal gangs operating in Garo Hills are procuring illegal SIMs from these states and using them from their crimes and discarding them after committing the crimes,” police sources said on the request of anonymity and added that pre-activated SIMs originating from Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura have became the biggest internal security risk in Garo Hills.
It is also observed that police investigations come to a dead end in most of the kidnapping and abduction cases as the subscriber details given to the service providers for the SIMs are either fictitious or false.
Police sources also observed that the existing mobile service policy in the North East needs re-look urgently for the sake of internal security of Garo Hills since the Northeastern states are grouped into two circles for mobile services. While Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram are grouped as NE-I Circle, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are grouped as Assam Circle.
In NE-I Circle, if a prepaid SIM is activated in Nagaland or Manipur, it can be used in Meghalaya as local SIM. However, if the same SIM is used in Assam, roaming charges are applicable. This dubious policy has encouraged militants and criminal gangs operating in Garo Hills to obtain pre-activated SIM (illegal) from Nagaland and Manipur and use them as local SIMs, police added.

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