IB Suspects ISI Spy Ring Helped Terrorists Enter Punjab in July

The busting of a spy ring is likely to provide vital clues for the security failure leading to the Dinanagar attack.

Updated
India
3 min read
 Kafaitullah Khan and Abdul Rasheed (Photo: PTI)

The busting of a spy ring – involving a Border Security Force (BSF) head constable working in its intelligence unit in Rajouri – is likely to provide vital clues for the security failure leading to the Dinanagar attack by Pakistani terrorists on July 27, this year.

Abdul Rashid who was arrested for allegedly spying for Pakistan’s ISI. (Photo: PTI)
Abdul Rashid who was arrested for allegedly spying for Pakistan’s ISI. (Photo: PTI)

However, even as the ringleaders of the gang were arrested, a senior BSF officer raked up a controversy over the likely route taken by the terrorists to enter Punjab.

Intelligence agencies were trying to find the source of leakage of sensitive information from the region for the past year-and-a-half, but they now suspect that the accused in the espionage case facilitated the entry of the three terrorists into Gurdaspur district of Punjab. Before the terrorists were taken out at Dinanagar police station, they shot down three civilians and four policemen.

Security personnel at Dinanagar area where the Punjab terror attack took place. (Photo: AP)
Security personnel at Dinanagar area where the Punjab terror attack took place. (Photo: AP)

At Wits End


(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

Besides the entry of terrorists in Dinanagar, security agencies have been at their wits end to detect the leakage of sensitive information in the recent past. The arrest of BSF head constable Abdul Rasheed and a Rajouri resident, Kafaitullah Khan, alias Master Raja, is expected to open a can of worms. The security forces are also on the lookout for a retired army soldier who was earlier posted in the district.

BSF’s Punjab Frontier IG Anil Paliwal, on Monday, claimed that the terrorists had not entered India from the Punjab border.

(Courtesy: Google Maps)
(Courtesy: Google Maps)

Paliwal claimed that there was no indication of any breach in the fencing or any sighting of the terrorists by border-dwellers. He, however, did not give any specific information on the route taken by the terrorists, who reportedly belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba, though no group claimed responsibility.

Punjab Police’s Claims

Punjab police, which undertook the operation after declining assistance from the army, had categorically said that the terrorists entered from along the Punjab border.

Former Punjab DGP Sumedh Saini, who personally supervised the operation, had said that a GPS device recovered from the encounter site showed coordinates of Malowal village in Pakistan’s Gujrat district, close to the border in Jammu region while another device showed its pre-fed location as Dorangala town in Gurdaspur district. The police concluded that the terrorists entered India via Fatoi Chak in Narowal district of Pakistan and crossed the Ravi’s flushed tributaries to enter Dorangla.

Intelligence sources pointed out that the BSF version has several loopholes, asserting that the BSF has “shown a tendency” to shift blame for failures to check infiltration in the past too.

Given the heavy deployment of security forces in the Jammu region, where patrolling by the BSF and the army is heavy, it would have been a difficult task for the infiltrators to sneak into India.

Rifles Recalibrated in PoK?

However, one finding in the Punjab Police’s investigations remains unresolved. It was found that the adjustment of gas cylinders in the AK-56 rifles used by the terrorists suggested that they started from a place with very low temperature.

A senior Punjab Police officer familiar with the investigation said that it was found that the terrorists adjusted the rifles’ gas cylinders. He explained that the gas pressure is used to set the frequency of fire and that its level is affected by the outside temperature. The officer disclosed that the terrorists tuned their rifles to level three which is compatible with extremely cold temperature. Under moderate temperatures, in the plain areas, the level is set at one.

Intelligence sources pointed out that since a majority of the training camps are located at high altitudes in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir it could well be that the recalibration was not done for their operation in Gurdaspur district.

(The writer is a Chandigarh-based senior journalist.)

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