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476 instances of use of banned satellite phones in Karnataka since last year

The Karnataka government has information about the use of banned satellite phones to make international calls and the state police were in touch in this regard with intelligence agencies, who are maintaining a strict vigil.

“After the 2011 Mumbai terror attack, Director General Shipping had issued a circular in 2012, banning the usage of satellite phones on Indian seas or waters. Its usage has been banned across the country in general, but still its usage at places has come to notice,” Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said.

Responding to Congress MLA U T Khader in the Assembly during the zero hour, he said, the government has information about the use of satellites phones at 256 incidents in 2020, and 220 in 2021 so far.

The Minister further noted that there has been exchange of information between local police stations, Internal security division (ISD), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) regarding the use of satellite phones, and strict vigil has been maintained.

“We cannot discuss much on this openly. International calls are going through it, matters of national security are involved in this. There is information about using satellite phones in the interior regions also, police are tracking and are behind (investigating) it. There is no need to worry about it for now, there is no problem,” he said, adding that police are trying to find the source of such calls, reasons behind it and those involved in it.

Raising the issue, Khader said, there have been repeated media reports regarding usage of satellite phones in Dakshina Kannada and coastal region and also about the presence of terror elements there, which has led to a lot of confusion and worry among people.

He sought for clarification from the government in this regard.

“Let the government get it investigated and give an official statement, so that people don”t worry and it will instil confidence in them. If anyone is using satellite phones they should be identified and dealt with, or else it will be our failure. If no one is using it, make it clear, so there will be clarity,” he said.

Quoting an example of reports about a youth using a satellite phone in Belthangady, almost a year ago, Khader said, but later it came across that he was not involved in any such activities.

“So let there be an official clarification from the government,” he urged. PTI

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