A day after it seized 18 kg of heroin in the Khemkaran sector, the BSF recovered 52 kg of heroin in two seizures in the wee hours of Wednesday following fierce cross-border firing.
The value of the contraband is estimated to be Rs 260 crore in the international market. This is the biggest seizure after the recovery of 100 kg of heroin from a Pakistani goods train last year.
While 20 kg of heroin was seized from the Roranawala border outpost (BOP) in the Amritsar sector, 32 kg of heroin was recovered from the T-Bundh BOP in Khemkaran.
There was a heavy exchange of fire at Roranwala between BSF troops and Pakistani smugglers, who used AK-47 rifles. The firing lasted for about three hours.
The BSF authorities said they would lodge a formal protest with Pakistan Rangers, which did not step in to stop the smugglers.
Talking to mediapersons here on Thursday, BSF IG (Punjab frontier) Aditya Mishra said, "BSF troops deployed at the Roranwala BOP heard suspicious noises between the international border and the border security fence at about 2:40 am. They immediately challenged the suspects, who fired bursts of 15-20 rounds at them. Our troops retaliated in self-defence, but the smugglers managed to escape."
Mishra said the smugglers fired intermittently till 5 am, probably to retrieve their consignment of 20-kg heroin stuffed in a plastic pipe. The smugglers had come well-equipped with firearms and were desperate to push drugs into India, he said.
In the second incident, BSF troops deployed at the T-Bundh BOP in Khemkaran observed suspicious movement of four persons on the Pakistani side and two persons on the Indian side at about 12.20 am, and accordingly, an alert was sounded. At about 1 am, the Pakistani smugglers entered the Indian territory and remained hidden in the wheat fields till 2.45 am. When they started moving towards the fence with a plastic pipe, the ambush party challenged the smugglers, who started firing at them. The troops returned the fire, but the smugglers managed to flee.
Later, BSF troops conducted a search and found a 10 feet long plastic pipe containing 32 packets of heroin weighing 1 kg each. They also recovered a pistol magazine, eight rounds of ammunition and a mobile phone with Pakistani SIM card.
Mishra said blood stains were also found across the fence, indicating that some Pakistani smuggler was hit by a bullet. He said that despite the heavy firing, Pakistan Rangers did not intervene to stop the smugglers. "We lodged protests in the past too, and we'll do it again. We want Pakistan Rangers to take effective measures to curb smuggling," he added.
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