Border Security Force (BSF) troops have gunned down 11 Pakistani intruders, including smugglers, in just over six months in Punjab this year.
Only six intruders were killed while trying to cross the border last year, while 11 and seven Pakistani nationals were gunned down in 2014 and 2013, respectively, state records obtained from the BSF Punjab Frontier headquarters here.
Of the 11 intruders intercepted and killed this year, six were smugglers while the remaining had entered India with arms and ammunition, said the BSF senior public relations officer, deputy inspector general (DIG) RS Kataria.
The number of intruders apprehended this year also shows an upward trend. While on an average 21 Pakistani nationals have been captured on the border (other than the cases where the intruders were handed over to Pakistan Rangers for crossing the border by mistake), this year 20 intruders, including three on Tuesday, have been detained already.
Talking to HT, a senior BSF official involved in border operations said ground reports have been confirming an increase in the number of intrusion bids, a rare phenomenon during this time of the year unlike during foggy winter season.
‘A change in strategy’
BSF inspector general (IG), Punjab Frontier, Anil Paliwal, however, attributed the increase in figures this year to the “extra efforts” being made by the force.
“With the addition in manpower along the border and deployment of latest equipment, the BSF has become more effective in foiling intrusion bids. This year, we have also changed our strategy for checking activities across the border, which has bore positive results,” said Paliwal.
In a reply to a question in Rajya Sabha in March this year, Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju had stated that the Centre has deployed 18 additional companies, with strength of 100 each, along the India-Pakistan border in Punjab, which comprises four sectors: Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Ferozepur and Abohar.
On technology front, the move to install laser walls is one of the measures taken up by the BSF recently. The technology cautions troops in case of trespass by raising the alarm and lighting up the breached area. In addition to this, thermal imaging cameras, night vision monoculars, portable battlefield surveillance radars and LED lights are also helping in better surveillance.