Infiltration through cross-border tunnels, movement of militants on NHs unchecked

11 tunnels detected so far on IB

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, May 19: Infiltration of the militants using tunnels along the International Border and their subsequent travel in trucks to South Kashmir remained a cause of concern by security agencies as neither the intrusions have been plugged completely nor the movement of militants has been checked along the National Highway.
Days after two militants infiltrated from Samba along the International Border and struck at Sunjuwan on April 22 last month, the Border Security Force (BSF) detected a tunnel on the IB which might have been used by the militants for intrusions.
The BSF has detected a total of 11 tunnels in the past decade. Last year, the force had detected two tunnels in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district in January.
However, there has been no let up in construction of new tunnels by the Pakistani Rangers and militants. There were reports that Pakistan has acquired new technology from China for digging the tunnels in a short period of time.
The BSF is manning about 192 kilometres of International Border in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts and is keeping tight vigil to scuttle any attempt of infiltration of militants, smuggling of weapons and narcotics and drone activity from across the border but sometimes the militants manage to take advantage of tunnels to sneak-in.
However, as per sources, though tunnels remained a cause of concern, equally significant is movement of militants from the border to National Highways without any check.
“A number of times, the militants have been intercepted at Nagrota, Sunjuwan and Jhajjar Kotli who had crossed the border between Samba and Hiranagar using tunnels and were on way to South Kashmir,” sources said, adding their movements on Samba road has also not been checked and most of the times, the militants either managed to reach South Kashmir or were trapped near Nagrota.
They said police needs to revisit their strategy to ensure that the militants are trapped and killed even if they manage to infiltrate from the International Border.
The BSF has detected a number of cross-border tunnels and thwarted militants’ plan to infiltrate but, at the same time, some others managed to sneak-in using the same tunnels, sources pointed out.
Truck operators who were nabbed while transporting the militants from the border to South Kashmir revealed to police that they had already shifted some militant groups from the border to different places of the Valley which clearly indicates that movement of the militants isn’t completely plugged.
There have been a couple of encounters at Nagrota and one at Jhajjar Kotli between security forces and militants after the latter were heading towards Kashmir following infiltration from the International Border.
All militants were killed in the gun battles.
However, sources were of the view that though some militants were intercepted and killed on the highway, there might be many others who managed to reach safely to their hideouts in Kashmir or other places.
On April 22, two militants struck at Sunjuwan on outskirts of Jammu City and targeted a bus of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in which a jawan was martyred and 10 security personnel were injured. Both the militants were gunned down by security forces in five-hour long encounter.
The truck operators who transported the militants from Samba to Sunjuwan confessed before police that they shifted a group of four militants from the border to Kashmir in January this year.
Sources said there was need to strengthen the vigil along the IB by the BSF and along Jammu-Pathankot and Jammu-Srinagar National Highways by the police.