Three days after four terrorists were gunned down at Nagrota’s Ban toll plaza, the Border Security Force and Jammu and Kashmir police have jointly unearthed the tunnel that the terrorists allegedly used to infiltrate in the Samba sector. The tunnel was located near Indian Border Outpost Regal in the district. The mouth of the tunnel is about 160 metres from the International Border and 70 metres from the border fence with a depth of 25 metres.

A senior police officer present at site told News18 that the width of the tunnel appears to be about 3-3.5 feet. Green-coloured sand bags with markings in Urdu were found at the mouth of the tunnel. One of the bags also had Karachi, Pakistan written on it in English.

“Technical and digital surveillance led us to the Samba sector and further investigation led us to the mouth of the tunnel,” IG Jammu Mukesh Singh said.

Officials said recovery of the mobile phones with GPS and radio sets gave security forces leads about the route that the four alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists took to infiltrate. Investigation suggests they walked for four kilometers from the mouth of the tunnel till village Jatwal where a truck was waiting to ferry the terrorists to the Valley.

Data analysis of the GPS sets found on the slain terrorists suggests a walk of nearly 30 kilometres by the terrorists from the JeM camp at Shakargah, Norowal in Pakistan to the Chak Bura border outpost in Pakistan opposite the Samba sector.

Investigation suggests the terrorists then crawled through the newly-discovered tunnel for about 200 metres and then walked for four kilometers to the pick-up point. The infiltration, as per technical data analysis, could have happened around 2 am on November 19 taking advantage of the moonless night.

In the Pulwama chargesheet too, NIA had flagged off the strategy of using moonless night for infiltration by Pakistani terrorists.

A rice bag-laden truck was the pick-up vehicle that was waiting for the terrorists at Jatwal. The handlers from Paksitan were repeatedly messaging and asking the coordinates of the terrorists, as shown in the mobile radio devices recovered by police. The truck was flagged off at the Ban toll plaza at around 5 am on November 19. The driver fled and the terrorists started firing from inside the truck.

“A special team was formed under an officer tasked to conduct a detailed search, subsequent to which, by first light the tunnel was detected by the BSF along with J&K police. The exit was in thick bushes carefully concealed and meticulously covered with soil and wild growth. The mouth of the tunnel is strengthened and reinforced by the sand bags with markings of Karachi, Pakistan,” a statement by BSF read.

IG BSF NS Jamwal told the media that the tunnel appears to be freshly dug and used for the first time. “It appears that proper engineering effort has gone in making the tunnel which shows the hand of the establishment. The nearest Pakistan Border Outposts are – Chak Bhura, Rajab Sahid and Asif Sahid,” BSF said.

This is the third tunnel that BSF has unearthed in the Samba sector. On November 4, a tunnel was found with sand bags bearing Pakistani markings. In August too, the BSF had unearthed a tunnel. With proper maintenance of fencing at the International border and patrolling using technical surveillance, tunnels appear to be the latest infiltration route adopted by Pakistan.

Police investigation is on to locate the truck driver and the guides who helped the terrorists reach Nagrota. Mobile radio device, medicine strips, eatables all point to Paksitan’s hand in the operation.

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