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Bangladesh revokes decision of suspending mobile network along India border

The decision comes two days after the country's telecom regulator ordered operators to shut down services along the border with India citing security reasons.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | January 1, 2020 5:21:35 pm
india bangladesh border, bangladesh india mobile network, citizenship amendment act, caa protests, bangladesh minorities india, caa countries pakistan bangladesh afghanistan Mobile network coverage was suspended for one kilometre along Bangladesh’ border with India(File/REUTERS)

Bangladesh has reversed its order suspending telecom services along the country’s over 4,000 km-long borders with India, news agency PTI reported Wednesday citing media reports.

According to The Daily Star, the authorities sent an email to all mobile operators on Wednesday, asking them to restore the networks. “Please reinstate operations of the BTSs (Base Trans-Receiver Stations) near the Bangladesh-India border sites immediately,” the email, by Md Sohel Rana, deputy director of BTRC’s spectrum management division, said.

The decision comes two days after the country’s telecom regulator ordered operators to shut down services along the border with India citing security reasons. Mobile network coverage was suspended for one kilometre along the entire border with India “for the sake of the country’s security in the current circumstances”, officials said in the statement, which was released on Monday.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) had directed the shut down of around 2,000 base transceiver stations, affecting around 1 crore users in 32 districts that share a border with India and Myanmar.

One official on condition of anonymity told Reuters the decision was taken out of concern that Indian Muslims might seek to enter Bangladesh after India introduced the Citizenship Amendment Act which has triggered violent protests across India. A day after Parliament passed the Bill last month, two senior Bangladesh ministers — Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan — had cancelled their visits to India.

Momen had later said that the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) are India’s “internal matters” but any “uncertainty” in the country will likely affect the neighbouring countries.

Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar told The Daily Star that the networks were blocked as the security of the state is the government’s first priority. The report quoted him saying that the decision was made following a consensus of three to four ministries, and the foreign ministry was leading the efforts.

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