New Delhi, November 24:
The director general of the Border Security Force (BSF), Rakesh Asthana, on Monday ordered intensified patrolling of the international border with Pakistan in the Samba and Rajouri sectors of Jammu & Kashmir with the objective of unearthing more cross-border tunnels like the one used by the four Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists who were killed in a gunfight on November 19.
While Indian intelligence agencies are trying to find the names and antecedents of the four Jaish operatives, people aware of the probe said it was clear the attackers stayed inside the tunnel before moving out on the moonless night on November 19.
Further evidence of this, the people added, came from an Indian soldier (Commandant Rathore of 173 battalion) crawling 150 feet into the tunnel used by the Jaish terrorists and recovering packets of biscuits and other food wrappers. The manufacturing date of the “Master Cuisine Cupcake” biscuits, a Lahore-based product, was May 2020, and the expiry date was November 17, 2020.
The people cited above suggested that there must have been a Pakistani spotter, perhaps a Ranger, on the other side of the border to guide the operatives when to safely move out of the tunnel. Intelligence inputs said that the four terrorists were launched from the Shakargarh camp of JeM, and moved towards Mawa in district Samba, between the Ramgarh and Hiranagar sectors. The pick-up point was Jatwal village — the village bang opposite it on the Pakistani side is Nagwal, which falls under Bari Manhassan near Shakargarh.
The plan was foiled when a truck carrying the freshly infiltrated militants was intercepted by security forces on the outskirts of Jammu city on November 19, and the four terrorists were killed in a gunbattle.
A case has been registered into the incident at the police station in Nagrota, and recoveries from the bodies show that the terrorists had plans for a major operation — they were carrying Rs 1.5 lakh in Indian currency, wire cutters, Chinese Black Star pistols, and grenades, apart from assault rifles and nitrocellulose fuel oil explosives, which were also used in the 2019 Pulwama attack.
After the discovery of tunnel, Asthana asked for special tunnel inspection teams to trawl the international border as the entire belt is sensitive to infiltration by JeM. Other Pakistani groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al Badr are known to infiltrate across the Line of Control (LOC) further north from the Uri and Kupwara sectors.
(Courtesy Hindustan Times)