Tunnel used by militants to infiltrate from Pak detected on IB in Samba

Exit of the tunnel at Regal area of Samba sector which was detected on Sunday. — Excelsior/Abhishek Badyal
Exit of the tunnel at Regal area of Samba sector which was detected on Sunday. — Excelsior/Abhishek Badyal

150-meter long tunnel originated from near Rangers’ Post
Intruders trek 9 kms to reach NH, guide helped them
BSF to lodge protest with Pak, give evidence of its support

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Nov 22: The BSF and police today unearthed a 150 meters long tunnel originating from Pakistan and opening inside the Indian Territory along the International Border (IB) in Regal area of Samba sector which had been used by four militants, who were eliminated by police and CRPF at Nagrota in the wee hours of November 19, for infiltration into this side.
“The tunnel had its origin at Chakpura Post of the Pakistani Rangers and opened at Regal area inside the Indian territory in Samba sector. It was 150 meters long, 20 feet deep and had three feet diameter at the opening. Mouth of the tunnel had been covered with Karachi made sand bags and it was freshly dug for infiltration by the militants,” official sources told the Excelsior.

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Investigations by the security agencies so far revealed that all four militants along with arms, ammunition and explosives infiltrated from the tunnel between 8.30 pm to 9 pm on the intervening night of November 18 and 19 and trekked around nine kilometers on foot to reach Jatwal, about six kilometers behind Samba town, on the Pathankot-Jammu National Highway.
The militants might have been helped by the guide to reach Jatwal after infiltration as they were carrying large quantity of weaponry. The guide was used for showing route to the militants during the night hours.
The truck had already reached Jatwal as per the plot between Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) cadre in Pakistan and Kashmir and the militants boarded the rice-laden vehicle in which special cavity had been created for hiding the ultras and large consignment of arms, ammunition, explosives and other belongings of the militants.
“Apart from Chakpura Post of the Pakistan Rangers, which was extremely close to entrance of the tunnel, three more Pakistani Posts-Chak Bhura, Rajab Sahid and Asif Sahid , were also adjacent to the tunnel and the Rangers deployed there seemed to have facilitated infiltration attempt by the militants,” sources said, adding that Karachi-made sand bags with which the tunnel had been covered at the opening on Indian side again confirmed Pakistan army’s direct involvement in aiding and abetting infiltration by the militants. From the possession of slain ultras at Nagrota, police had already recovered large quantity of Pakistan-manufactured medicines.
“The tunnel was freshly dug which was evident from the sand bags used to cover the tunnel at its opening on the Indian side. Covering the tunnel was a deliberate act by the militants so that it could be used again by the militants for infiltration,” sources said.
The truck, as already mentioned, was spotted at Sarore Toll Plaza at 3.44 am and was intercepted by police, SOG and CRPF at Ban Toll Plaza in Nagrota around 5.20 am where all four were killed after three hour long encounter on November 19.
Director General of Police DGP) Dilbag Singh, IGP Jammu Mukesh Singh, IG BSF Jammu Frontiers NS Jamwal and DIG Jammu-Samba-Kathua range Vivek Gupta visited site of the tunnel this afternoon for investigations.
Dilbag told reporters that after the killing of four militants in highly successful operation by police at Nagrota, police was working to ascertain from where the JeM militants infiltrated and how they managed to reach National Highway where they had boarded the truck on way to Kashmir, which was intercepted by police at Nagrota and all four militants were eliminated.
“Jammu and Kashmir Police gathered clues and shared inputs with the BSF. The BSF jawans worked hard and detected the tunnel which started at Pakistan side and opened on the Indian side with length of about 150 meters,” Dilbag said.
“Anyone with ill intentions coming on the Indian soil will meet the same fate (like JeM militants),” the DGP said, adding Pakistan already stands exposed in the world for its support to terrorism and this infiltration by four JeM cadre has once again blown the lid over it.
He said police has already shared the evidence of the involvement of Pakistan which is not only pushing Lashkar-e-Toiba and JeM militants into Jammu and Kashmir but was also supporting Hizbul Mujahideen and Al-Badr cadre and smuggling weapons to harm the innocent persons.
“The material recovered from the slain militants including weapons, wireless sets, medicines, clothes and food items bore the marking of Pakistan. Today, the sand bags recovered from the tunnel were manufactured in Karachi. It shows that from training to launching of militants into J&K have Pakistan (Government’s) stamp,” Dilbag said.
He said the infiltration of the JeM militants was aimed at disrupting the democratic process as District Development Council (DDC) polls are scheduled to be held in eight phases beginning November 28.
“The four militants coming with 14 weapons means that they have sleeper cells and want to hand over the weapons to them. They were carrying RDX which shows they were planning to carryout multiple IED explosions at different places to target forces and the people,” he added.
IG BSF Jammu Frontiers NS Jamwal said proper engineering effort has been used to make the tunnel which wasn’t possible without the support of Pakistani Rangers.
“The tunnel had origin in front of Chakpura post of the Rangers. It can’t be dug without their support,” Jamwal said and added that the BSF will lodge strong protest with Pakistan over digging of tunnel which was used by the militants for infiltration. The BSF will also give evidence of tunnel to Pakistan,” Jamwal said.
This was the second tunnel detected by BSF along the IB in Samba district in the past three months. In August, the border guarding force found a tunnel near the border fencing in the Galar area.
BSF carried out a massive anti-tunneling operation along the IB in Samba sector after it came to light that the four JeM militants had managed to infiltrate through Samba sector before they were eliminated in a gunfight in Nagrota.
Meanwhile, Pakistani troops targeted forward posts and villages along the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) in Kathua and Rajouri districts, drawing retaliation from Indian troops.
However, there was no report of any casualty in the latest ceasefire violation which came a day after a personnel of the Indian Army was martyred and three others including two women were injured in separate ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Rajouri and Poonch districts.
“At about 11.15 am today, Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and shelling mortars along the LoC in Nowshera sector of Rajouri. The Indian Army retaliated befittingly,” a defence spokesman said.
In another ceasefire violation, the officials said Pakistani Rangers targeted Satpal, Manyari, Karol Krishna and Gurnam border outpost areas at around 9 pm on Saturday, drawing strong and effective retaliation from the Border Security Force (BSF).
They said the cross-border firing between the two sides continued till 3:45 am on Sunday but there was no report of any casualty or damage on the Indian side.