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30.7.12


Authorities today discovered a 400m long tunnel, running between India and Pakistan, along the international border in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.

"We have discovered a tunnel running between Pakistan and India in Samba district," SSP (Samba) Israr Khan told reporters.

The tunnel was detected after an area caved-in at two or three places due to rains near the BSF's Chillayari border out post  , he said.

"After the cave-in, the area was dug out to know the reason. But, the authorities were surprised to find a tunnel," the SSP said.

The tunnel, with a dimension of 3x3-ft, was running between Chillayari BOP and Pakistan's Numberiyal BOP, he said.

Dug at a depth of 25-ft below the ground level, it was 400m long on the Indian side, the SSP said adding "we are confirming whether the tunnel is operational or not."

The tunnel, which seemed to be freshly constructed, had air supply through a 2-inch pipe, he said adding "we are looking into all aspects."

Pakistan must be facing a lot of pressure from the militants to infiltrate them into the Indian territory, the SSP said.

"Since it is difficult to push in militants to the Indian side, they decided to set up a tunnel to facilitate infiltration," the SSP said.
It appears the tunnel is 400-500 metres long, he said. The tunnel runs below the border fence, erected on Indian territory to prevent infiltration of terrorists from Pakistan. "Our fair assessment is that this tunnel is under construction."

The Pakistani post Lambryal is about 500 metres opposite India's Chinari post. "There is thick vegetation in the area. We can't know the activities going on that side." Officials do not rule out the possibility of more such tunnels either already constructed or under construction from Pakistan to India.

Residents of Chhichwal village say the Border Security Force (BSF) and the army are not taking the issue seriously.  Said Fateh Singh, an elderly man: "It is over 36 hours since the tunnel was discovered. But no one from the army has come to find out the facts.

"It is only the senior superintendent of police who is camping here. The BSF came with a machine to dig the place but that machine ran out of fuel. Ravi Choudhary, a farmer who saw the sinking area leading to the tunnel's discovery, said: "By not acting fast we are giving time to Pakistan to cover up things."

The Jammu and Kashmir Police has called for geological experts and the remote sensing department to study the tunnel. "But no one has reached so far," said Parveen Katwal, another villager. Because of strong security measures on the Indian side, Pakistan has been finding it difficult to push militants into Jammu and Kashmir.

"That is the reason Pakistan has embarked on constructing such an underground tunnel to push arms, ammunition and militants into Jammu and Kashmir," one official said. Hundreds of Kashmiri youths who went over to Pakistan for arms training and now desperate to return to the state by surrendering to security forces and making use of government rehabilitation policies.

Pakistan wants to push in more militants into Jammu and Kashmir as there are very few left in the state, another official said.

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