Jamaat-Shibir, BNP men against SIM registration, alleges Tarana Halim

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Dhaka, April 10: Jamaat-Shibir, BNP and illegal VoIP traders are involved in spreading propaganda against SIM registration, State Minister for Telecomunications Tarama Halim said on Sunday.

She said more than half of SIMs is yet to be registered with biometric systems.

“We know Jamaat-shibir and BNP men are spreading propaganda by opening facebook page and online portals against SIM registrations. They spreading such propaganda from 40 unregistered pages in UK. We are monitoring it,” the state minister told reporters at a press briefing in Jatiya Press Club.

She said, so far, 54.5 million mobile phone SIM cards have been registered with biometric details since the exercise started in December.

The figure accounts for around 42 percent of the 131 million SIMs sold by mobile phone operators in Bangladesh.

However, around 80 million of them are still active, say operators.

“We will finish the process by April 30. As a warning, the remaining subscribers’ SIM will be switched off for a few hours and they will be notified by SMSs,” sate minister Halim told a media briefing after attending a road show held by mobile operator Banglalink.

She said the unregistered SIMs will be deactivated for good after the warnings.

However, the rate of registration is increasing daily as the deadline nears, added the minister.

SIM cards are not being sold without the buyer’s fingerprints any more, while the re-registration of SIM card owners by recording their fingerprints is set to continue until April.

The SIM re-registration process, which began on December 16 last year, is aimed at controlling crime using SIM card registered under false names.

Speaking at the briefing, Telecoms Secretary Faizur Rahman Chowdhury said, “Many have been victimised over the misuse of SIM cards. A certain quarter is carrying on propaganda, but everyone wants it.”

The BTRC chief described those opposing the move as ‘enemies of the people and the State’.

“The idea of fingerprints being stored is absurd. We want to ensure subscribers’ security,” said Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood.

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