13 held for fleecing labourers for ‘easy’ entry into J&K
A racket of touts fleecing labourers on the pretext of “easy entry” into Jammu and Kashmir was busted after the police arrested 13 persons, including a special railway police officer on Tuesday.
The police have registered seven FIRs — six in Kathua district and one in Sujanpur of Pathankot — against the accused. One more accused is absconding.
Giving details, Kathua district police chief SSP Shailendra Kumar Mishra said, “For the past two to three weeks, we had been getting reports that a gang of touts was operating at Madhopur — the last point of Punjab — and Lakhanpur. They were charging money from labourers for facilitating their entry into J&K.”
“Due to the Covid pandemic, entry to J&K is regulated. Initially, it was being allowed via Lakhanpur, but recently we have also opened Atal Setu. The gang started charging money to the labourers reaching Madhopur in a hope to get access to the UT,” he said.
Mishra informed that presently no inter-state bus movement was being allowed.
“These touts used to charge the labourers ₹1,000-₹2,000 to facilitate their entry into Kathua by managing dispatch slips. For this, the accused disguised as labour contractors,” he said.
Subsequently, these labourers used to get the rapid antigen test conducted and their dispatch slips prepared before being allowed access to Jammu.
“We conducted raids and arrested 13 of the 14 accused. One is absconding. Among the arrested is an SPO of railway police. Roles of an ASI, head constable and a contractual labourer in the office of DC Sales Tax are under the scanner,” he added.
One FIR each has been registered at the Sujanpur police station in Pathankot and Hiranagar police station (Kathua district), while five have been registered at the Kathua police station.