JAISALMER: In terms of everyday activity, the Rajasthan border may not be as electric as the frontier in Jammu and Kashmir but it’s always a likely alternative crossing for infiltrators from Pakistan, especially when vigil by India is too hot along the northern borders.
The present is just such a time, and BSF desks in Rajasthan frequently receive intel alerts of possible infiltration attempts by the desert route. Officers say there has been a palpable increase in Pakistani ranger activity along the border in Jaisalmer and Sriganganagar districts. “Intelligence inputs keep coming in at regular intervals suggesting that terrorists are looking at desert route to enter India,’’ said one officer. In line with the changing security scenario on the western border too, BSF is erecting high-voltage spike fencing in Rajasthan.
The electric fence is called Cobra. A touch can be fatal for intruders. Cobra fencing has already been installed at some places in the Kishangarh area in Jaisalmer. Duly, the entire 1,070 km border (covering Jaisalmer, Sriganganagar, Bikaner and Barmer) will be electrified.
Also on the anvil are deployment of UAVs and CCTV cameras for more effective surveillance. Presently, UAVs are being used in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab and occasionally Gujarat. Now the birds are due to be brought to Jaisalmer and Sriganganagar as well.
BSF DIG Amit Lodha says: “ Given intelligence inpouts, constant vigil by BSF and state-of-the-art equipment, it will be an impossible for intruders to breach the fence.’’
To the most daring of interlopers the desert is a formidable deterrent with water and food desperately scarce. Further, the flat and barren terrain affords a lot of visibility to border guards. But there’s been a change in the scenario in recent years.
“Till a few years ago, this area may not have been conducive for infiltration. But not any more. Terrorists are being trained for desert survival, to survive with minimum water and food,” says DIG Lodha.
Stirring in the sand
Although it has the reputation of being a quiet frontier, Rajasthan has seen several smuggling and infiltration attempts in recent years.
- In September 2006, BSF shot dead three terrorists who attempted to breach the fence in Sriganganagar. They were carrying explosives.
- In 2014, three youngsters aged 12-14 sneaked in through the fence. They had no terror links and were handed over to Pakistan Rangers. But the ease of their crossing set off alarms in the BSF.
- In 2014, terror boss Hafiz Saeed was spotted in Islamkot village just across the border near Jaisalmer.