After the Dinanagar and Pathankot terror strikes, fingers are being pointed at the Border Security Force (BSF) for its ‘failure’ to stop infiltration from across the international border and alleged connivance of some of its men with drug smugglers.
The paramilitary force, tasked with guarding the border and preventing trans-national crime, has sacked and jailed seven of its personnel for colluding with the drug mafia, while 108 others have been shifted since 2011 due to suspicious activities, according to information available with the intelligence wing of the BSF’s Punjab frontier headquarters in Jalandhar.
Of these seven cases, four, including the recent arrest of a jawan by the police in SAS Nagar, were handed over by the BSF to the state police for investigation, citing the involvement of civilians also.
BSF inspector general, Punjab frontier, Anil Paliwal says the intelligence and vigilance wings keep tabs on all personnel even during their leave period, especially those who belong to the smuggling-prone area.
“Transfers are based on reports given by our intelligence wing about their activities or due to complaints regarding doubtful conduct during the posting or leave period,” he adds. Other BSF officers also reason that the transfers do not mean that these personnel were involved in any illegal activity on the border. Since 2014, the BSF has also adopted a policy not to offer the home district to any soldier or official. Postings are also not given in buffer districts (two nearby districts from both sides).
Record seizure of contraband
Notwithstanding the flak, the BSF has made the second biggest seizure of heroin and other narcotic drugs on the Indo-Pak border along Punjab in 2015 after setting a record in 2014. A total of 344-kg heroin was seized in 2015 as compared to 361 kg in the previous year.
Though repeatedly blamed by the Punjab government for drug smuggling, the record seizures, despite a drop in heroin production in Afghanistan as per a United Nations (UN) report, are seen by the paramilitary force as a positive sign.
“In the past two years, we have enhanced vigil along the border. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2011, 67 kg of heroin was seized,” according to Paliwal.
As for intrusion, 21 smugglers and 15 intruders have been gunned down by the BSF since 2011. In addition, 122 Pakistani nationals were caught while crossing the border, mainly for the purpose of smuggling or spying.