India on Tuesday lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over the detection of a 400-metre long tunnel across the international border in the Samba sector of Jammu & Kashmir. The tunnel, 25-feet deep below ground level and 3X3 feet in circumference, was detected by a patrolling party of the BSF on July 28 after some portion caved in during heavy rains revealing the freshly constructed tunnel with provision for air supply.
“A strong protest was lodged in the afternoon on Tuesday by the BSF with its counterpart Pakistan Rangers over the detection of a tunnel in the Indian territory,” a BSF official said.
Senior BSF officials and Pakistan Rangers held a flag meeting at the Octroi BoP on Tuesday, during which a strong protest note with evidence was handed over to the Pakistani authorities.
Sources said the tunnel may have been planned by the militants in connivance with the Pakistani authorities for smuggling and illegal infiltration. The Indian border forces also handed over photographs of the tunnel which has a straight alignment from Pakistan to the Chachwal village, located just a kilometre away from the international border.
Addressing a monthly press conference here, Home Minister P Chidambaram raised concerns over the detection of a tunnel across the international border adding that the issue will soon be taken up with Pakistan.
“This matter is being discussed at the highest level between the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs. An appropriate response and appropriate way will be found to take it up with Pakistan,” Chidambaram said.
‘Live in Harmony’
After his two-day long visit to riot-hit districts of Assam, Chidambaram said that he has appealed to Bodos, Bengali Hindus and immigrant Bangla minority community to learn to live together, as in a pluralistic society there is no option but to live in harmony. Referring to the ethnic violence between communities, Chidambaram said Assam is a typical example of a pluralistic society where communities like Bodos, minorities, Bengali Hindus, Adivasis, Rajbangsis and others live.
“Whether they live in this legal arrangement or that legal arrangement...They have to learn to live together. In fact all states in India are becoming more and more plural. Delhi is a fine example of a plural society. We have to live together ,” Chidambaram said.
Chidambaram, however, refused to comment on the delay of army deployment in the strife-torn region of Assam stating that he had no knowledge when the Ministry of Defence received a request from the Assam government for deploying the army in the affected areas.
“I cannot obviously comment without knowing the facts,” he said.