Two persons, including a driver belonging to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir region, have been arrested for allegedly smuggling narcotic substance from across the Line of Control on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad trade route, police said today.
"The driver - Anayat Hussain, a resident of Muzaffarabad, has been arrested following the recovery of narcotics substance on Friday," said Suhail Mir, Superintendent of Police, Baramulla.
Mir said the local trader Zahoor Ahmad Malla, who was to receive the consignment, has also been taken into custody.
"A case under Section 8/21 of NDPS Act has been registered against the duo and the investigations are on," he said.
Authorities on Friday recovered 305 packets of suspected contraband substance from an orange-ladden truck coming from PoK on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Road.
Mir said the seized contraband has been sent to Forensic Science Laboratory for a detailed examination.
"The security officials during routine checking of goods imported from PoK at Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre in Uri stumbled upon few packets suspected to be Brown Sugar in a box of oranges in one of the vehicles," he said.
"During detailed checks of other boxes, the officials found four to five packets of about 10 grams each in every orange box," Mir said.
All the 22 vehicles which came from PoK on Friday are still at Salamabad trade facilitation centre in Uri while the 29 trucks from Indian side are held up in Chakoti on other side of the LoC.
Official sources said a meeting of trade officials from the two sides was held on Friday evening following the recovery of the contraband substance. It was not clear as to what transpired at the meeting but the developments so far indicate that the trade has hit a deadlock similar to the one last year.
In January last year, the authorities had seized drugs worth nearly Rs. 100 crore from a truck coming from PoK, which led to brief suspension of cross-Line of Control trade after police arrested the Pakistani driver of the vehicle.
The PoK officials did not allow the Indian trucks and the drivers to return till the accused PoK driver was released on bail by a local court and returned home.
In August 2013, police recovered cocaine worth Rs. 10 crore from a truck, plying on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route, at Sheeri in Uri sector.
Meanwhile, president of the LoC traders association Hilal Ahmad Turki today demanded that the issue of import of drugs be investigated by the the National Investigation Agency or CBI to eradicate the evil once for ever.
"There are so many issues which remain a mystery for us. For example, how come people who have criminal cases pending against them are being given registration and No Objection Certificates for becoming cross-LoC traders? Who is backing these elements?" he asked.
Turki said few "black sheep" were bringing bad name to the entire trading community and these elements need to be isolated.
He said the traders were at the risk of incurring huge losses if there is a trade deadlock like the one last year. "Goods worth Rs. 20 crore (fresh fruit) are loaded in trucks at the Trade facilitation Centre. If these are not delivered as per schedule, the losses will be enough to put the genuine traders away from LoC trade," he added.