Security forces unearthed a tunnel beneath the International Border (IB) in Jammu's Samba Sector on Sunday, which was used by the Pakistan army to push in four Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants who were killed in an encounter in Nagrota on Thursday.
“We were on a lookout to establish the route used by the four JeM terrorists. Each piece of information, including technical details, was put together. They all pointed towards their favourite Samba Sector (in Jammu). After a lot of hard work, the police and the Border Security Forces (BSF) were able to find the tunnel within 76 hours of the encounter. It was coming from Pakistan's Chakbura post,” Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh told The Hindu .
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Describing the spotting of the tunnel as a “big success”, DGP Singh said the tunnel was used by the four infiltrators to cross into India during the night of November 18.
“Everything we recovered (from the slain militants), from phones to shoes to medicine, all bore the imprint of Pakistan. Even the sandbags used to cover the tunnel, in a bid to use it again, is Pakistan made. There is no scope for Pakistan for lying about the incident,” the DGP said.
Inspector-General, BSF, N.S. Jamwal said the freshly dug tunnel was 30-40 metre long. “We believe they (the JeM militants) had a guide who took them till the highway,” Mr. Jamwal said.
The nearest Pakistan posts, which were involved in pushing the terrorists, included Rajab Sahid and Asif Sahib border outposts, the BSF said.
“It appears that proper engineering effort has gone in making the tunnel, which shows the hand of the establishment,” a BSF spokesman said.
The tunnel is around 150-metre-long and 15- to 20-foot-deep and around 3-foot-wide, BSF officials said. It opened up in Regal village on the Indian side of the border. The infiltrators are believed to have covered 12 to 14 km on foot to reach the Jammu-Pathankot Highway at Jatwal after inflitrating from Pakistan and were apparently accompanied by a local guide, official sources said.
Four JeM militants were killed in an encounter at the Ban Toll Plaza in Nagrota on November 19 when they were travelling in a truck, which was headed for Kashmir. The driver, however, managed to escape.
Official sources said the authorities running the toll plaza were planning a full body scanner for trucks to avert any such incident in the future.
Meanwhile, security forces on Sunday launched a cordon and search operations in several villages of the Mendhar sub-division in Poonch district, following the sighting of a drone by the security forces on Saturday evening.
An official said several areas of the Mendhar Sector and Tain-Mankote were searched on Sunday. The security forces could not spot the drone or recover any weapons in the area, officials said.
Pakistan Army also resorted to “unprovoked ceasefire violation” by firing with small arms and shelling mortars along the Line of Control in Nowshera Sector, Rajouri, around 11:15 a.m., an Army spokesman said. “Indian Army retaliates befittingly,” the spokesman said.