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J&K police team rushes to Punjab to investigate Kashmir connection of arms cache dropped by Pakistani drones

There were reports that the consignment of AK-47 assault rifles, hand grenades, satellite phones airdropped by drones in Punjab was meant for terrorists operating in J&K.

SP Sharma | Jammu |

Dropping arms and ammunition in Punjab by drones of Pakistan’s ISI has sent warning bells ringing also in Jammu and Kashmir as the new strategy indicates a strong nexus between the Kashmiri and Khalistani terrorists.

There were reports that the consignment of AK-47 assault rifles, hand grenades, satellite phones airdropped by drones in Punjab were meant for terrorists operating in J&K.

DGP of J&K Police, Dilbag Singh, told The Statesman on Thursday that he has dispatched a team led by a superintendent of police to Punjab to investigate the J&K connection of the matter.
The DGP said that initial investigations indicate that the consignment was for terrorists in Kashmir. The terror outfits were short of arms and ammunition for the newly recruited terrorists in the valley as a result of which Pakistan’s ISI was desperately sending the assault rifles via Punjab. He did not rule out Pakistan also planning some major strikes in Punjab or reactivate the pro-Khalistan terrorists.

Meanwhile, there were also reports that Pakistan has created a dangerous nexus between Khalistani and Kashmiri terrorist outfits in Pakistan and other countries. Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahedeen were training Sikh and Kashmiri terrorists in various camps.

It is suspected that the recent seizure of four AK-56, two AK-47 rifles, six magazines and 180 live AK rounds from a truck that entered Jammu from Pathankot in Punjab might also have been dropped through drones. The three JeM terrorists arrested while transporting the cache of arms and ammunition had reportedly told the interrogators that they had got the consignment from someplace near Amritsar.

Terrorists had earlier been getting arms and ammunition through the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border, but this became difficult following the construction of the border fencing. Tunnels for infiltrating trained terrorists and smuggling arms across the borders were detected some time ago in the Jammu, Samba and Kathua sectors.

The fresh strategy of dropping guns for terrorists with the help of drones is a worrysome aspect for the security forces.

Reacting sharply to the incident, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said; “Recent incidents of Pakistan-origin drones dropping consignments of arms & ammunition is a new and serious dimension on Pakistan’s sinister designs in aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370. Request @AmitShah ji to ensure that this drone problem is handled at the earliest”.

The Punjab Police has seized a half-burnt drone that carried weapons from Pakistan. Five AK-47 rifles, 16 magazines and 472 rounds of ammunition, four Chinese-made .30 bore pistols, along with eight magazines and 72 rounds of ammunition; nine hand grenades, five satellite phones with their ancillary equipment, two mobile phones, two wireless sets and fake currency with the face value of Rs 10 lakh were seized from the Khalistani terrorists.

There were reports that Ranjeet Singh alias Neeta, Pakistan based chief of Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) enjoys considerable support of Kashmiri terrorists. Neeta, who belongs to Jammu, along with some ISI officials played a major role in working out a nexus among various Sikh and Kashmiri terror groups. Neeta, against whom cases were registered in Jammu, Punjab and Mumbai for fabricating bombs and exploding these in public places, had developed contacts for transporting arms and ammunition.

Besides Neeta, 12 other Sikh terrorists had taken refuge in Pakistan and were being looked after by the ISI. Neeta and two other terrorists, Manjit Singh of Khalistan Zindabad Force and Ravinder Singh @ Pinka belong to Jammu and were reportedly in touch with Kashmiri terrorists.

Ravinder Singh of Nanak Nagar in Jammu is accused in hijacking IAC flight IC 405 from Srinagar to Lahore on 5 July 1984.