New Delhi/Jammu, Aug 29 (PTI) The Border Security Force (BSF) has detected a tunnel originating from across the border just beneath the Indo-Pak international boundary fence in Jammu, thus foiling attempts of terror groups and drug mafia in Pakistan to sneak into India, officials said on Saturday.
BSF Director General Rakesh Asthana, who took over the command of the border guarding force recently, has directed frontier commanders to ensure that the anti-infiltration grid is intact and there are no gaps along this front, they added.
During a routine patrol, the BSF troops got suspicious after it noticed sinking of earth at some places in a farmer's field following incessant rains in Samba sector of Jammu region recently.
An earth moving machine was immediately pressed into service to examine it after which it was found that a tunnel was being dug below from across the border which could be easily used for pushing of terrorists and smuggling of narcotics and arms, the officials said.
The tunnel, which is about 50 metres from the border fence on the Indian side, was located in the Galar area of Samba sector in Jammu and found stuffed with 8-10 plastic sandbags in the mouth to avoid detection. The plastic bags had 'Pakistani markings' on them, officials told PTI.
A thorough examination showed that the tunnel was under construction and about 20 feet-long with a depth of about 25 feet had been completed and it would have opened at the 'whaleback' border post of the BSF.
The Samba sector has been used frequently by the terrorists and drug mafia to enter into the country. The NIA charge sheet, filed earlier this week, had also shown that Mohmammed Umer Farooq, nephew of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, had infiltrated in April 2018 from this sector.
Farooq has emerged as the brain behind February 14 terror strike on a CRPF convoy last year that left 40 personnel dead. BSF Inspector General (Jammu) N S Jamwal also visited the spot to oversee the operation, the officials said.
The green-coloured plastic bags have markings of 'Karachi and Shakargarh' factories on them and the bags have a make and expiry date embossed which show that they have been manufactured recently, officials said.
The nearest Pakistani border post 'Gulzar' is about 700 m from the tunnel, they said.
The BSF pointed at the 'deep connivance' of Pakistan in aiding infiltration along this front.
'With this detection, alert BSF troops foiled the nefarious design of Pakistan to infiltrate terrorists into Indian territory. The tunnel's origin is in Pakistan territory close to IB.' 'Efforts of alert BSF troops deployed in our multi-tiered counter-infiltration grid once again resulted in neutralising the evil designs of terrorists in deep connivance with Pak establishments,' the Jammu frontier of the force said in a statement.
There have been 'regular inputs about the presence of terrorists in Pak border villages desperately looking for infiltration into Indian territory but vigilant BSF troops foiled desperate attempts of anti-national elements to infiltrate and carry out terrorist actions in India', it said.
'Seeing the long tunnel, I can say that the Pakistan establishment surely has has a hand and has knowledge of it.
'The date mentioned on the sandbags suggest that the tunnel has been freshly dug. We are investigating it further,' Jamwal told reporters.
The force has been conducting a mega 'anti-tunnel drive' in the IB areas of Jammu and other places after five armed infiltrators were recently killed by it along this front in Punjab.
The entire BSF formation deployed across the 3,300 km International Border that runs along Jammu, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat is on extra alert as there are multiple intelligence inputs of terrorists trying to breach the IB and infiltrate into India, officials said.
The border force is also looking at deploying ground penetrating radars to detect tunnels along this sensitive front which is prone to infiltration by terrorists from Pakistan and cross-border smuggling of arms and narcotics.
The force has launched a major search operation in the area to look for other such hidden structures that aid infiltration even as it analyses the about 3-4 feet wide structure that could be used for pushing terrorists and smuggling of narcotics and arms, they said. PTI NES TAS SKL ZMN