HAM experts sniff out
illegal radio sets in Darjeeling
KOLKATA: HAM radio experts from the city,
engaged by security agencies to monitor cross-border
radio chatter in the Darjeeling Hills region, have
helped in the detection of at least four trans-receivers
operating in the Hills illegally. The monitoring, which
started soon after the first round of violence on June
8, also confirmed security agencies' suspicion that
unidentified receivers were tapping into police wireless
The Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal has already
alluded to "external help" for the Gorkhaland agitation
and suspected links with underground outfits from the
northeastern states. The Gorkhaland Movement
Coordination Committee has steadfastly denied these
charges, calling them an attempt to tarnish the "image
of the agitation".
The HAM radio experts, who were engaged by security
agencies, told TOI that they had succeeded in picking up
communication between "a senior pro-Gorkhaland leader"
and unidentified persons from across the Indian border.
"We have been engaged in radio communications for
decades and do so for the better part of the day and
have techniques that even security agencies do not
have," one of the experts said on Friday. "That is why
we are often engaged by security agencies to track down
illegal sets operating in troubled areas," he added.
"Our services were requisitioned in Darjeeling as well.
The initial chatter that we picked up from two sets
operating from the Hills was innocuous. But, before
long, we realised that those were just decoys to throw
authorities off track. We succeeded in picking up
communications between a senior leader of the ongoing
Hills movement and somebody across the Indian border
through a different set. The communication was in
Nepali. Senior officials from security agencies were
present when we intercepted the communication," this
Security officials in Kolkata confirmed they had
requisitioned "expert help to monitor cross-border
communication". "We sent more equipment and men from our
Tollygunge unit after getting the report from these
experts," a senior official added.
"We had our suspicions but could not confirm them. But
the experts helped us and even showed us how the
movement of police contingents were being monitored by
listening in to our own dedicated frequencies," he said.
The experts from Kolkata also succeeded in finding out
the location of a proper radio shack inside a forest
near Darjeeling. A few days after this discovery,
violence erupted nearby when cops tried to raid the
area, an official said.
Officials said cops recovered some radio sets, similar
to ones used by police vehicles, during raids at Gorkha
Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung's
residence-cum-office at Patlewas, about 6 km from
Darjeeling town, on June 15. The GJM had then said that
those were used in vehicles used by Gurung and other top
leaders when they got security cover from the
"We have been helping government agencies not only
during natural calamities but also to track down
anti-national activities. There are over 35,000 HAM
operators in India and we share very good synergy with
security agencies," another HAM operator said.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha central committee member Ramesh
Aley dismissed this account, saying it was an attempt by
security agencies to tarnish the "image of the
agitation". "There is no question of seeking external
help at all. We have always been loyal to the country
and will always be," he added.