Amritsar, January 2
The year 2022 saw a significant rise in instances of drone intrusions with the ostensible intention of smuggling drugs, arms and ammunition into Punjab. It has become a big challenge not only for the Border Security Force (BSF) but also for the Punjab Police.
The anti-national forces based in Pakistan have typically used gangsters and drug smugglers for sneaking in contraband, improvised explosive devices (IED), arms and ammunition including AK-47 and AK-56 assault rifles which are likely to be used to create law and order problems in Punjab.
Instances like the IED blast in Ludhiana Court Complex in December 2021, rocket propelled grenade (RPG) attack at the Punjab Police (Intelligence) headquarters in Mohali earlier this year and at Sarhali police station in Tarn Taran recently, are a testimony to this. The investigations carried out by top Punjab Police officials suggested that the IED and RPGs were smuggled from Pakistan with the help of drones.
According to BSF authorities, over 250 drone intrusions were made last year on the Punjab border with Pakistan while sources said that the number could be much higher as not all sorties get noticed, especially during the dense fog in winter season. Over 20 drones were also shot down by the BSF while around five drones were confiscated by the Punjab Police.
The BSF has adopted some anti-drone mechanism at the border to sense the movement of drones and successfully shot them down.
DGP Gaurav Yadav had also pointed to the enormous challenge before the Punjab Police after a rise in smuggling of contraband, arms and explosives through drones on the international border with Pakistan. The police also organised cordon-and-search operations in the border belt to show the presence of the police in the border villages for nailing drug smugglers and criminal elements, including gangsters.
IG, Border range, Mohnish Chawla said though the challenge is there, Punjab Police was fully prepared to tackle any untoward incident and misadventure by notorious elements.
“The Punjab Police is working in tandem with the BSF. We have strengthened the police force by conducting regular patrolling and erecting both permanent and shifting nakas. We are also coordinating with the border area residents for sharing information about the drug smugglers and unscrupulous elements,” the IG said.
Swapan Sharma, Senior Superintendent of Police, Amritsar (rural) said there is no doubt about the present challenge. He said besides strengthening police in the border belt, a close eye was being kept on notorious gangsters and drug peddlers. A number of them landed in the police net, he said.