Chandigarh/New Delhi, Aug 22 (PTI) The BSF shot dead five heavily armed Pakistani intruders along the India-Pakistan International Border in Punjab early Saturday, the force said.
This was the highest number of intruders killed in a single incident along the 3,300-km-long border with Pakistan in more than a decade, officials said.
Punjab shares a 553-km-long frontier with Pakistan, apart from Jammu, Rajasthan and Gujarat, which together constitute the remaining part of the IB.
A BSF spokesperson said troops recovered nine packets containing 9.92kg heroin, an AK-47 rifle, two magazines and 27 rounds, four 9mm Berretta pistols with seven magazines and 109 live rounds, two mobile phones and Rs610 in Pakistani currency after a gunbattle with the intruders near the Dal border post in Tarn Taran district.
The border post is guarded by the 103rd battalion of the Border Security Force.
The spokesperson said BSF personnel noticed suspicious activity near the border around midnight and asked the intruders, who were wearing T-shirts or shirts and full pants, to surrender but they "did not pay any heed to the challenge" and opened fire on the troops.
"To stop any further misadventure and in self-defence, the BSF troops retaliated with fire in which five Pakistani armed intruders succumbed to bullet injuries," he said.
BSF Inspector General (Punjab Frontier) Manipal Yadav told reporters during a press conference in Amarkot that the five men had "crossed the IB and entered into Indian territory".
Yadav said the operation against the infiltrators began around 11:30PM on Friday, and intitially two bodies were found during a search this morning. Three more were found later.
He said the bodies were handed over to the local police, which will now probe the case and scan the data of the two mobile phones the BSF found with the bodies.
Another senior BSF official said the exchange of fire began around 4.30 am.
BSF troops, officials said, used thermal imaging, night surveillance devices and also set up multiple ambushes to track down the infiltrators. The intruders were seen carrying rifles and moving through ''sarkanda'' or elephant grass to hide themselves, they added.
A photo collage released by BSF showed two bodies piled on each other while three others were lay separately in the slushy grass. The weapons and a backpack were visible in the photographs.
Officials said the BSF has seized over 356 kg heroin and 25 illegal weapons so far this year. PTI NES/CHS ABH