Jammu (Kashmir - J&K), March 04: In a bid to corner Pakistan, India today invited it for conducting joint investigations into digging of tunnel from Pakistan to Indian side of the International Border (IB) in RS Pura sector, which was detected yesterday by the security forces near Alla Mai De Kothe (AMK) Post.
Meanwhile, sensing gravity of the situation, Director General (DG) BSF, KK Sharma flew-in here from New Delhi and straightway drove to site of the tunnel along with Director General of Police (DGP) K Rajendra and IG BSF, Jammu Frontiers, Rakesh Sharma where he held high level review of the situation arising out of detection of 10 feet underground and about 30 meters long tunnel inside Indian territory and about 200 to 300 meters in Pakistan.
IG BSF, Jammu Frontiers, Rakesh Sharma told the Excelsior that BSF and Rangers held DIG level flag meeting on the International Border in RS Pura sector this morning in which the BSF presented detailed pictorial evidence of the tunnel to Pakistan including the inside view that led up to Pakistan side.
In the evening, another flag meeting was held at the level of battalion commandants at the AMK Post in which senior officers of BSF and Rangers participated and India shared more evidence on tunnel with Pakistan. More such meetings could take place in future. The evening meeting followed after Sialkot Commander of the Rangers intentionally didn’t pick up the phone to receive summons.
“The kind of evidence BSF gave to the Rangers was such that Pakistan couldn’t deny it that the tunnel had been dug from their side of the border,” sources said, adding that to further corner Pakistan, the BSF asked the Rangers to join joint investigations with the BSF in digging of the tunnel on the Indian side from Pakistan,” he said, adding the Senior Sector Officer of the Rangers, who was summoned by him at the AMK Post this morning agreed to the evidence and assured that he would revert back to the BSF after consulting his seniors.
Sharma said the BSF gave all evidence of the tunnel after clicking it in the cameras to Pakistan, which was about 30 meters inside the Indian territory and then led deep inside Pakistan. The tunnel was being constructed for long time use and not one-time infiltration.
“The tunnel was being constructed for multiple infiltration attempts in future to target Jammu City and security installations, which was evident from its width and capacity and material being used for its construction. It had been hidden very tactfully and carefully by Pakistan to activate it multiple times,” the IG BSF said, adding that DG BSF, KK Sharma also inspected the tunnel and lauded the BSF troops for detecting it.
Official sources said the tunnel had been dug very close to the river Tawi deliberately so that the militants could take the route to reach Jammu to carry out terror attacks in the City and security installations. “It was a very serious and deliberate plot to create large scale disturbances in the City”.
Sources said the BSF told the Rangers during the flag meeting that tunnel had been constructed right under their (the Rangers’) nose from Pakistan side up to the Indian border with a view to facilitate infiltration by the militants and carry out attacks in Jammu City and security installation.
“We are determined to take the case (construction of tunnel) to logical conclusion this time. Pak has to act on this act. We will make them act as we have enough evidence that without active support of the Rangers, the tunnel couldn’t have been constructed as it was very close to Pakistan’s Afzal Post opposite AMK Post in RS Pura sector,” sources said.
They added that the tunnel had the capacity of infiltration by big group of militants one-by-one and it was being constructed for long term use and not short term, which was evident the way it had been dug so far.
According to sources, the tunnel seems to have been constructed only five to six days back.
“The BSF had observed suspicious movement along AMK Post in RS Pura sector initially on the intervening night of February 22 and 23 and then February 29 and March 1. It was after this movement that the BSF had activated men and machinery along the borders and detected the tunnel,” sources said, adding that the BSF has also rewarded a local border civilian with Rs 10,000 cash and commendation certificate for the help rendered by him in unearthing the tunnel.
Earlier in the day, DG BSF KK Sharma, DGP K Rajendra Kumar and IG BSF Rakesh Sharma visited the border areas including site of tunnel and inspected it.
Lauding the BSF jawans for detecting the tunnel and thwarting major terror plots in Jammu City, the DG BSF called upon the BSF officials to search for more such tunnels along the International Border. The BSF chief, who had recently taken over from DK Pathak, was briefed in detail about situation prevailing on the border by the BSF officials.
On his first visit to Jammu, KK Sharma inter-acted with the BSF Commanders and jawans on the border and boosted their morale before returning to New Delhi.
Speaking to reporters, DGP K Rajendra Kumar said with detection of the tunnel a major terror attack aimed at targeting Jammu has been foiled. He said security forces and police were maintaining high alert along the border to foil terrorist attacks.
Describing detection of 30-metre long tunnel from Pakistan to the Indian side as a major success, IG BSF Rakesh Sharma told reporters at the tunnel sit that it was dug with the aim of pushing in armed militants into Jammu region.
“We were carrying out our regular clearing operations, done monthly, when we found a well-constructed tunnel,” he said.
Terming yesterday’s detection a major success, the IG said if not detected in time, Pakistan would have succeeded in pushing in ‘fidayeen’ and other militants inside Indian territory.
“Pakistan was objecting to our efforts to clear grass as it was anticipating that BSF would be able to detect the tunnel. We resisted Pakistan’s attempts and went ahead with clearance operation during which the tunnel was found,” Sharma said.
The tunnel is approximately 10 feet below the ground and has a length of 30 meters from their end to this side, he said.
“But it was blocked on our side. It was dead end. It had no exit as they could not complete it further. It came close to the border fencing,” the IG said.
“One person can sit and easily move inside the tunnel which has come up in the vicinity of Allah-Mai-Di-Kothe BoP of ours from Pakistan Post of Afzal,” he said, adding that a probe was on.