BSF gives pictorial evidence to Rangers on Samba tunnel

BSF gives pictorial evidence to Rangers on Samba tunnel

31 July 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: The Border Security Force (BSF) today lodged a strong worded written protest with Pakistani Rangers on construction of a long tunnel deep into the Indian territory at the International Border at forward village of Chechwal in Samba sector. Meanwhile, senior BSF officers including Additional DG Himmat Singh and Geological experts today took a fresh assessment of the situation at the tunnel. An operation to find exit of the tunnel on Indian side was expected to be launched by the seismic experts shortly, official sources said. The BSF officers along with the experts were at the spot for more than two hours. The BSF authorities were chalking out next round of action including steps to detect exit of the tunnel, which was very crucial to determine whether the tunnel had been used earlier or was still being constructed and its length being stretched further. A farmer detected the tunnel on July 27 evening after he found the land caved in following Monsoon rains. 'A strong protest was lodged late this afternoon by BSF with its counterpart Pakistan Rangers over detection of the tunnel’’, official sources said. A strong protest note with evidence was also handed over to Pakistani authorities at Octroi Border Out Post (BoP) along IB in Suchetgarh sector of R S Pura, sources said, adding the protest letter was addressed to the Sector Commander. The Pakistani authorities were bound to reply to the protest letter, sources said. BSF authorities have passed on to them pictorial evidence of the tunnel which is coming in straight alignment from Pakistan to Chechwal border village via Chillayari post of BSF from Lumbriyal post in Shakergarh sector of Pakistan. Senior BSF officials and Pakistan Rangers held a flag meeting at the Octroi BoP around 3 pm today. Authorities had on July 28 detected over 300-meters long tunnel after an area caved-in in a straight line at some places due to rains near fencing close to Chillayari BoP of BSF along the IB, which was spotted by the farmer on July 27 evening. The tunnel had been dug between two sides along IB on India’s Chillayari BoP and Pakistan’s Lumbriyal BoP. The tunnel was apparently dug for infiltration and smuggling. The tunnel had a depth of 25 ft below the ground level and it was of 3x3 ft dimension with a 2-inch pipe for air and oxygen supply. Meanwhile, the detection of the tunnel into Chechwal border belt has created fear among the people. Our people have spent sleepless nights after its detection...,' villager Parveen Singh said. With a population of over 2,000 villagers, Chechwal hamlet is located barely one kilometer from International Border. 'We have never seen such a tunnel even during the peak of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir or even at the height of the border conflict,' he said. Like Parveen, Lumderdar Som Singh said 'our fears have doubled after the detection of the tunnel in our paddy fields. Authorities are yet to find out details of the tunnel.' Another villager, Harnaam Singh, said the locals want the authorities to ascertain that there were no more other tunnels in their area. He remarked villagers have seen cross-border shelling and firing, infiltration of militants from Pakistan and subsequent encounters in past but this new design appears to be more dangerous. The tunnels have been dug open at two-three places, which poses more threat to them, Harnaam said. Incidentally, it was a Class XII student, identified as Sukhdev, who first noticed that his farm land had caved in some places and subsequently informed BSF. People living close to the International Border in Jammu sector had similar story of fear gripping them. The villagers of Gallar, Kukrenwala, Garkhal, Pargwal, Chinore farm, Abdullian, Suchetgarh, Jabowal, Korotana also feared the presence of such tunnels in their areas. They demanded that BSF personnel carry out survey of their areas. UNI adds from New Delhi Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today voiced concern over the discovery of a 400 m long tunnel running between India and Pakistan along the international border in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir. 'It is a matter of much concern that a tunnel has been found between India and Pakistan. I compliment security forces for discovering the tunnel,' Mr Chidambaram told a news conference called to present a monthly report card of his ministry. He said the matter would be taken up with Pakistan. He said the Defence, External Affairs and Home Ministries have discussed the matter in detail. Authorities on July 28 discovered a 300 meters long tunnel, running between India and Pakistan, along the international border in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.