The three militants killed in Samba in Jammu might have crawled through an 80-metre-long tunnel under farm lands to cross the International Border (IB), the BSF chief said on Wednesday.
Addressing journalists on the eve of the Border Security Force's 51st Raising Day in New Delhi, its chief K K Sharma said the paramilitary force had "strong inputs" about possible infiltration bids by terrorists from across the IB following the Indian Army's surgical strikes on terror launch pads, and hence it was "in a position" to detect and neutralise the heavily-armed militants.
"After the operation got over at the Chamliyal BoP (border outpost), we checked the fence and there was no breach. Then on Wednesday morning, we detected a small tunnel of the size of 2x2 metres... We had deployed 'depth nakas' across the fence and hence we could detect and neutralise the three militants. The tunnel was found in a field where farming is done and has soft soil. The tunnel is about 75-80 metres from the IB and about 35-40 metres from the fence," he said.
The DG said the border guarding force would take up the matter with its counterparts -- Pakistan Rangers, but added that due to increased hostilities, the other side is not "getting in touch" for quite sometime now.
BSF officials said there is "ample proof" and indication to say that the militants crawled through the tunnel to reach this side of the border. Sharma said the Nagrota attack that took place on Wednesday at an army camp was "separate" and it was part of the investigation to find out if it had any connection with the Samba terror bid.
He said that since the increase of hostilities between the two sides, especially post the surgical strikes conducted by the army across the Line of Control, BSF has killed 15 Pakistani Rangers and 10 militants while it lost five troops.
"For the last 15 days there has been no shelling along the IB. Post the surgical strikes we knew that infiltration attempts and attacks would increase along the IB which we exclusively guard and hence anticipating trouble we have been prepared against such attempts," he said, adding it was pitch dark on Tuesday night hence picking up movements along the IB was difficult through naked eye.
Sharma said BSF had "strong inputs that infiltration can be attempted from around the IB area and that is why we were in a position to effectively neutralise the three" on Tuesday. The DG said the three terrorists were carrying huge arms and ammunition like three AK-47s, 20 full magazines, 517 bullets, an 8mm pistol, 20 grenades and a GPS set along with other items on them.
The BSF chief said there are inputs of a "grave threat" to security establishments and hence the forces have beefed up and reviewed camp and perimeter security.
Meanwhile, police is probing if Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) was responsible for Tuesday's terror attack on an army camp in Nagrota, that left 7 officers and jawans dead, after a note written in Urdu bearing the name of JeM's Afzal Guru Squad (AGS) recovered from three slain terrorists, a senior official said.
"We are working on these links. We are going into all details, and investigation has started (into the links of JeM with Nagrota terror attack after recovery of notes in Urdu)", Director General Of Police (DGP) K Rajendra Kumar.
According to reports, a note, along with three AK-47 rifles, magazines and UBGL grenades, was recovered from the site of the attack, points to the involvement of JeM's Afzal Guru Squad. The note, written in Urdu with the name-bearing at the end of AGS of JeM, says that they have avenged the death of Guru. The recovered explosives were being disposed off by controlled explosions.
JeM has named a squad after Afzal Guru to target security forces in India last year. It was first exposed in November 2015, when Indian Army repulsed a major fidayeen (suicidal) attack on its Gorkha Rifles (GR) camp near the Line of Control (LoC) in Tangdhar and recovered bags with Afzal Guru Squad markings. Guru's name also cropped up in Pathankot when Rajesh Verma, who was abducted along with Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police.
(All images sourced from PTI)