NEW DELHI: In further evidence of
of the four Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists killed on November 19 in Nagrota,
, the BSF and J&K Police on Sunday unearthed the cross-border, underground tunnel allegedly used by the quartet to infiltrate into India from the
. The tunnel appeared to have been created with proper engineering effort, which BSF said points to the supporting role of the Pakistani “establishment”.
The mouth of the freshly-dug tunnel – which is 160 metre into the Indian side and estimated to be around 40 metre on the Pakistani side of the international border – was found reinforced with sandbags bearing the markings of Karachi, Pakistan. “The exit (of the tunnel) was in thick bushes carefully concealed and meticulously covered with soil and wild growth….It is a freshly dug tunnel and appears to be used for the first time,” the BSF said in a statement.
The 200-metre-long cross-border tunnel – located 70 metres from the border fence and having 25 metre depth – is nearest to the Pakistani border outposts
, Rajab Sahid and Asif Sahid, while the nearest point on the Indian side is BOP Regal in Samba district.
The discovery of the underground infiltrating route was made possible after the BSF and J&K police, helped by leads that included electronic surveillance based on intercepts and even social media activity, retraced the route taken by the terrorists before they were intercepted and neutralised at the Ban Toll plaza on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. “It took us two days to trace back the route with the help of leads available consequent to the encounter. It was learnt that the terrorists were picked up by a truck from village Jatwal, District Samba, on the national highway. A special team led by a senior officer was formed to conduct the detailed search for the infiltration point, which led to detection of the tunnel at first light. BSF IG and DIGs and SSP Samba were present to supervise the search,” a BSF spokesperson said.
Sources said the use of underground tunnels as a route of infiltration, is not unusual to Samba, with the tall ‘Sarkanda’ grass on the Pakistani side of the international border – which grows in violation of a joint agreement between the border guarding forces of India and Pakistan to keep the stretch near IB clear of the such growth for better visibility – offering logistical ease to terrorists to dig tunnels, undetected, to the Indian side. Indian agencies say the Pakistani forces often extend engineering support for creation of such underground infiltration routes.
The discovery of the tunnel only adds to the huge body of evidence establishing Pakistani origins of the plan by Jaish terrorists to target district development polls in J&K with an unusually large cache of weapons. The “irrefutable” proof includes several items recovered from the slain terrorists, including a digital mobile radio manufactured by Pakistani company Micro Electronics. Messages on the DMR set clearly showed that the intruding terrorists were in constant touch with their handlers across the border.
Other recoveries pointing to the complicity of Pakistan-based terrorist outfits included a smartphone from a Pakistani company Q Mobile; medicines manufactured in Karachi and other places in Pakistan; and shoes manufactured in Pakistan.