Police ask pay phone operators to eavesdrop ahead of I-Day

August 5th, 2008 - 12:41 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sahil Makkar
New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) Telephone booth operators, taxi drivers and guesthouse owners in the national capital have been asked to keep an eye and eavesdrop on people calling Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Jammu and Srinagar as Independence Day approaches. Cyber cafes and guesthouses have been told to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras. Telephone booth operators have been asked to maintain a separate register for people making local, intra-state and international calls in the run up to Aug 15.

“Try to overhear the conversation and if any suspicious activity is noticed, inform police immediately and keep a watch over the person. Information regarding persons making calls on ISD codes 008801 (Bangladesh), 0092 (Pakistan), 09977 (Nepal) and local codes 0191 (Jammu) and 0194 (Srinagar),” the instructions read.

Raju, a phone booth owner in southwest Delhi, told IANS: “The cops come daily to my shop and check the register to see whether we are maintaining a proper record. A constable then signs and put the date at the end of the particular day’s record.”

Apart from keeping a call record, guesthouses have been told not to allow guests to use the hotel address for delivery of new mobile phone SIM cards.

They have also been asked to install CCTVs at the entrance and maintain the footage of visitors.

A “watch (is) to be kept on persons using guesthouse and obtain complete photo identification card of users and local contact in case of person belonging to other state or country,” the instructions say.

Also, don’t be surprised if a taxi driver asks for a passenger’s identity proof or reports to the police if a passenger has been clicking pictures of any important monument in the city.

“Terror threat increases manifold during the time of Independence Day and Republic Day. So we are asking each and every person to remain vigilant and report any suspicious matter to police,” a top Delhi Police official told IANS.

“If we don’t keep their phone call records, it is very likely that the terrorists may escape easily after executing blasts in the city. We appeal to people to cooperate with the police,” the official added.

Mobile SIM card dealers have been strictly instructed to ask customers for photo identification proof. Besides installing web cameras with recording facility, cyber cafe owners have been directed to keep a watch on people surfing the Internet.

“We are very particular about cyber cafes after the series of blasts in Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad. The terrorists have used cyber cafes before executing those blasts,” said a senior official.

Apart from briefing phone booth operators, taxi drivers, guesthouses, parking attendants, vegetable sellers and market associations, Delhi Police have for the first time sent requests to large hospitals, colleges, schools and resident welfare Associations to take precautionary measures.

Letters have been sent to medical superintendents of Safdarjung Hospital and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and principals of schools and colleges.

“In Ahmedabad, terrorists have not even spared hospitals and they exploded bombs there when media people and relatives of affected persons in the bomb blasts at various places gathered in the hospital,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police Kumar Gyanesh.

“In view of the terrorist attacks at the hospitals, we have written letters to AIIMS and Safdarjung hospitals for strengthening security in and around their premises,” Gyanesh said.

In a letter to colleges and schools, the police have asked them to be vigilant as they could prove vulnerable targets for terrorists.

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