Police fail to trap handlers of cross-LoC arms smuggling
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
JAMMU, March 1: Even after taking into custody the driver and recovering arms and ammunition from his truck, Police in North Kashmir have failed to trap handlers of the cross-LoC arms smuggling.
In its Tuesday issue, STATE TIMES had exclusively reported that Police had arrested a driver of cross-LoC trade and recovered arms and ammunition from his truck that had been smuggled into the Valley from PoK by a militant network.
While a senior Police official was returning from New Delhi, an officer of the rank of additional SP, according to well-placed authoritative sources, made a plan to trap the receivers of the arms and ammunition at a particular spot on Srinagar-Baramulla highway on Tuesday evening. The detained driver of truck No: JK03B-1586, namely Irshad Ahmad Mantoo of Buchpora Kulgam, communicated to the consignees to reach a particular spot to receive the Chinese pistol, some ammunition and two hand grenades, which had been smuggled into the Valley through cross-LoC trade earlier.
Even as the receivers reached close to the spot, they probably got suspicious about the Police surveillance. They diverted their vehicles and sped away in a style that Police got no chance to chase or open fire on them. Sources insist that the handlers or their authorised agents managed to escape successfully. None of the people involved in the networking of arms smuggling could be arrested or trapped in the raids carried out at several places in Kulgam area of South Kashmir.
None of the Police officers agreed to speak in confirmation or contradiction to the reports available with STATE TIMES.
Sources said that one Chinese Pistol with two magazines and 14 rounds of ammunition, four AK magazines with 120 rounds of ammunition and two Chinese hand grenades were recovered from the camouflaged cavity that had been created on the truck for the purpose of concealing the arms and ammunition smuggled in from PoK through cross-LoC trade.
Investigation is underway to find out how much of arms and ammunition had been already smuggled in by a formidable terror network and how many vehicles and drivers were involved in it. Sources said that the detained driver has spilled the beans and identified many of his contacts but Police are still investigating about their antecedents, whereabouts and hideouts. His call details and other means of communication and interaction with the arms smugglers in Kashmir and across the LoC are being scanned in detail.
While the Kashmiri drivers carry goods of the zero-tariff cross-LoC barter trade after crossing the LoC to the Trade Facilitation Centre Chakothi for onward trans-shipment to PoK, the drivers from across the LoC similarly deliver goods at TFC Salamabad, Uri. Goods as well as the drivers and their vehicles are thorough scanned manually and electronically at both TFCs, one controlled by the Pakistani customs authorities and another by the Indian customs and immigration authorities.
Case FIR No 07/2017 under section 7/25 of Indian Arms Act and section 13 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been registered in Police Station Uri and the investigation has been assigned to a special investigation team.