The Border Security Force Saturday gunned down five persons who intruded into Indian territory from the Pakistani side at the international border in Punjab.
An AK-47 assault rifle, four Beretta pistols and nearly 10 kg of suspected heroin were recovered from the site in Ferozepur, the BSF said.
Sources said the intruders were “neutralised” after a six-hour operation.
BSF IG Mahipal Yadav said: “We registered movement near the International Border around 11.30 pm on Friday, and accordingly launched an operation. We kept the intruders under surveillance all night and challenged them around 4 am when they crossed the border. Instead of surrendering, they fired at us. We had a cordon which did not allow them to escape. Around 5.30 am, we spotted them again and challenged them. They fired and we retaliated. Later, during a search of the area, we found five bodies, arms and contraband.”
The BSF said its personnel recovered one AK 47 rifle, two AK magazines, 27 live AK rounds, four pistols (9 mm Beretta) with seven magazines and 109 live rounds, and nine packets, weighing 9.9 kg of contraband, suspected to be heroin. Pakistani currency totalling Rs 610 and two mobile phones have also been recovered.
BSF sources said these have been handed over to Punjab police for further investigation.
“Forensic examination of the phones will likely reveal to who was the consignment to be delivered and who in Pakistan had the intruders been in touch with,” a BSF officer said.
“As of now, there is no evidence to clearly establish whether they were terrorists preparing to launch an attack. All the intruders are dead,” a BSF officer said.
Sources, however, said the nature of the offence and the modus operandi suggest they could have been couriers, often used by Pakistan to smuggle contraband and arms to India.
“Had it been preparation for an attack, the intruders would not have been carrying contraband. Also, they would have been carrying food items and medicines. They had only one AK 47. It appears to have been an attempt to smuggle arms and contraband. Pakistan does this regularly,” sources said.
BSF sources said the episode also highlights why Pakistan dithers on clearing foliage near the border. “The intruders managed to hide all night in the tall grass near the border. But thanks to our hi-tech surveillance and robust cordon mechanism, they were neutralised. Pakistan never clears foliage on its side of the border as it gives cover to intruders,” a BSF officer said.