A 23-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly smuggling two kg heroin from across the Line of Control (LoC) at Forward Balakote in Jammu and Kashmir’s Mendhar. Army soldiers captured Mohammad Kasim, a resident of Mendhar’s Hamirpur, near the barbed LoC fence on Monday and later handed him over to police. Kasim has reportedly told his interrogators that he had brought three kg heroin from across the LoC a month earlier.
A police officer pleading anonymity said that the consignment was delivered to someone in Jammu. He added that Kasim’s detailed interrogation was in progress. The officer said that the man appears to have been a courier and part of a transnational narcotic smugglers network.
Kasim’s family had shifted from Bhimber Gali to Hamirpur after his father helped the Army capture a militant in 2001. Defence spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta said that Kasim had gone to the LoC as a cattle grazer and received the consignment from a Pakistani national. “The alert troops challenged and apprehended the individual,” he said. “The apprehension is a significant blow to the nefarious designs of Pakistan Army in facilitating narcotic smuggling to fund terrorism in the state.”
Balakote and Nowshera sectors have come under heavy mortar shelling from the Pakistani troops that has caused damage to property and death of two civilians. Sources expressed surprise over Kasim’s ability to go to the LoC despite heightened vigil along the border after Pakistani Army had mutilated bodies of two Indian soldiers in adjoining Krishna Ghati sector in May.
No movement is allowed around the area, where Kasim was caught, without the Army’s permission. Kasim, who lives near an Army camp, had managed to travel around 12-13 km on foot and crossed the barbed wire to reach the LoC.