| New Delhi |
Up to date: November 29, 2020 4:49:50 pm
WHEN SECURITY forces tracked a GPS machine recovered from the 4 Jaish terrorists who were gunned down in Jammu’s Nagrota on November 19, they reached a slender opening that led to a 200m-long tunnel close to a BSF outpost in Samba sector.
The invention didn’t take them abruptly.
This was the sixth tunnel that the BSF had discovered up to now 4 years alongside the Jammu border. And for the reason that first such building was noticed in Punjab in 1997, within the aftermath of the Khalistan motion and the start of militancy in Kashmir, BSF information present the invention of not less than 12 key cross-border tunnels.
Officers say that with tight border surveillance in place now, these tunnels have turn into an important route for militants carrying arms and ammunition to launch assaults within the Valley. “Detecting tunnels on a 200-km border with appreciable foliage and creeks will not be straightforward,” former BSF IG Rakesh Sharma, who has held command within the Jammu sector, advised The Indian Express.
The newest tunnel was three toes vast and 4 toes excessive, with the small opening bolstered with sandbags. Safety forces recovered 11 AK assault rifles, 24 magazines and seven.5 kg of RDX together with 20 m of IED wire and 6 detonators from the slain militants. In addition they discovered one Below Barrel Grenade Launcher, 29 grenades, 5 rifle grenades, three pistols with six magazines, a wi-fi set — and the GPS.
The earlier discovery occurred within the Galar space of Samba sector on August 27, when the soil across the spot started sinking. Simply days earlier, the Nationwide Investigation Company (NIA) had mentioned in a chargesheet that the Pulwama attackers of February 2019 had used a tunnel on the Jammu border.
“Intrusion over floor has turn into troublesome since a sturdy anti-infiltration grid, involving skilled and alert manpower and state-of-the-art expertise, has taken form up to now decade. That’s the reason terrorists now use subterranean strategies,” mentioned former IG Sharma.
In response to BSF officers, the primary such path to be found was on March 12, 1997, in Punjab, when the seventieth Battalion found a 116-ft-long tunnel of two-and-a-half-feet diameter within the Amritsar sector.
The subsequent yr, an analogous tunnel was noticed in the identical sector. And the yr after, a extra elaborate tunnel, 170m lengthy and three toes in diameter, was present in Gurdaspur. One other tunnel was present in 2001 close to Chountra, additionally in Gurdaspur, which was 90m lengthy and three toes in diameter. The final tunnel in Punjab was found in 2003 in Ferozpur, with a size of fifty m and peak of simply two toes.
“These days, tunnels weren’t very deep and didn’t have sufficient area. Something lower than three toes excessive will drive you to crawl, which might turn into troublesome over distances,” mentioned a senior officer.
In response to Intelligence sources, these tunnels have been initially dug by a Pakistani gold and narcotics smuggler, Jacka Masih alias Jacka Isai. “However he was later roped in by Pakistani forces. Even now, we discover his signature on some tunnels. However modern-day tunnels, largely present in Jammu, have indicators of engineering inputs by Pakistan Rangers,” the officer mentioned.
On July 22, 2012, the BSF stumbled upon the primary tunnel alongside the Jammu border, at Chillayari in Samba. In response to officers, it stays essentially the most “subtle” tunnel discovered to date — 255m lengthy, 2.5 ft vast and 5 ft excessive, sufficient for infiltrators to stroll throughout. It was dug at a depth of 25 toes and bolstered with wood planks, with small pipes resulting in the floor for air.
“It had clearly been made by engineers of Pakistan Rangers. Fortunately, we detected it whereas it was nonetheless unfinished. It seemed to be an try and make a everlasting tunnel,” an officer mentioned.
“The Punjab border obtained fenced within the wake of the militancy within the Nineteen Eighties, however the Jammu border was not. So, by means of the height of Kashmir militancy, you would simply stroll throughout if you happen to managed to hoodwink the patrol. However as soon as the Jammu border was fenced, tunnels grew to become a useful resource for infiltration,” one other officer mentioned.
The subsequent tunnel, 50 ft lengthy however simply two toes excessive, was present in Jammu in 2016, adopted by an analogous discovery the identical yr. Two small tunnels have been found in 2017 and, after a niche of three years, two extra in 2020. “The final two have been extra subtle… Most tunnels are discovered within the Samba sector due to the fuzzy terrain. Because of the abundance of creeks, the soil is delicate and makes digging simpler,” mentioned an officer.
Through the years, the Jammu border has been bolstered with anti-infiltration checks, comparable to flood lights, thermal imaging cameras, laser beams over creeks and high-resolution surveillance. “However there isn’t any expertise to detect tunnels,” mentioned a senior officer.
Following the 2012 discovery, the Ministry of Residence Affairs examined tech to trace tunnels. “An Israeli firm’s floor sensors have been tried out. The corporate claimed it may detect seismic vibrations. However we discovered it was efficient solely as much as a depth of one-two metres,” an official mentioned.
📣 The Indian Categorical is now on Telegram. Click on here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and keep up to date with the newest headlines
© The Indian Categorical (P) Ltd