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Sunday, October 25, 2020

J&K: Arms-drop ‘remnants’ seized in Kathua village, Pak drones new worry for security agencies

At least four cases of arms drop have come to the notice of security forces, all allegedly using Pakistani drones, since June 20 this year.

Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu | Updated: October 15, 2020 1:45:12 am
pakistani drones, arms drops pakistani drones, pakistanti drone arms drop kashmir, pakistani drone shot down, drone shot down in kathua, loc, india pakistan, indian expressThe drone that was downed in June this year.

Wednesday morning’s seizures of material allegedly used in an airdrop of arms and ammunition in Rasana village, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district, has left the security officials worried. Besides the increase in instances of weapons-drop through drones from Pakistan, they are also concerned about the distance from the international border and the Line of Control (LoC) where these drops were reported.

At least four cases of arms drop have come to notice, all allegedly using Pakistani drones, including the attempt on June 20, when BSF personnel shot down a drone in Kathua ditrict’s Hiranagar sector, along the international border, and recovered arms and ammunition.

According to information, officials of the Special Operation Group of J&K on Wednesday seized from an abandoned field nearly 200-250 metres of nylon rope, allegedly used to pack weapons dropped by drone, a shaving blade, and a marker fitted on a pistol.

The seizures were made in the presence of the local tehsildar and the patwari concerned, sources said.

The SOG team, it is learnt, was led to the drop site near Rasana village by two arrested men, alleged to be associates of Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, who were arrested early-September with weapons allegedly sent by drone from Pakistan.

The arrested duo – a truck driver and co-driver – were held near Jawahar Tunnel, which connects Jammu with Kashmir Valley, early last month. An AK-47 rifle, an M4 US carbine and six Chinese pistols, along with ammunition, were seized from their truck, the police had said. During questioning, they reportedly said that they had picked up the weapons from near Samba district, where they had been drooped by drone from Pakistan, sources said.

They had reportedly said during interrogation that they picked up the weapons on the intervening night of September 5-6 while returning from Pathankot, Punjab, where they had gone a day earlier.

According to police officers, using drones to send weapons from Pakistan has of late emerged as a major challenge for security forces in the Union Territory.

On September 22, security forces claimed to have seized a cache of weapons in Akhnoor sector that was allegedly air-dropped by a drone from Pakistan – these include two AK-47 rifles, one 9-mm Chinese pistol and ammunition, two packets of packaging material containing, among others.

About the distance the Pakistani drones are covering inside Indian territory to drop weapons, a source pointed out that Sohal Khad, on the outskirts of Akhnoor town where weapons were dropped on the morning of September 22, is nearly 15 km from LoC in the Chicken Neck area, while Rasana in Kathua is also 12-15 km from the nearest international border in the district’s Hiranagar sector.

Weapons dropped by Pak drones

Sept 22: 2 AK-47 rifles, 3 magazines and 90 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, one 9-MM Chinese pistol, along with two magazines, 14 rounds of ammo seized at Sohal Khad, on outskirts of Akhnoor, nearly 15 km from nearest LoC point

Sept 19: 2 AK-56 rifles, 6 magazines and 180 rounds, 2 Chinese pistols with 3 magazines and 30 rounds, 4 grenades, 2 pouches and Rs 1 lakh cash seized with arrest of three people in Rajouri district, along the LoC.

Sept 9: AK-47 rifle, M4 US carbine, 6 Chinese pistols, along with ammunition, seized with arrest of two truckers. Duo said during interrogation that weapons dropped near Kathua’s Rasana village late Sept 5 night.

June 20: BSF shot down a drone in Kathua’s Hiranagar sector along the international border. It was found carrying a payload of nearly 5 kg, including a US-made M4 semi-automatic carbine, 2 magazines, 60 rounds, and 7 Chinese grenades.

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