The recovery of the satellite phones, which are banned in India for civilian use, is a giveaway that the weapons were meant to be delivered to terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir where partial restrictions are still in place, sources said.
“The drone made around 10 visits to drop the entire consignment on the Indian side and yet remained undetected. The consignment contained five satellite phones, which hints that the delivery was meant for Jammu and Kashmir since mobile internet connection is still snapped in the valley,” said a senior police officer, asking not to be identified.
Four terrorists of the Khalistan Zindabad Force were arrested at Punjab’s Tarn Taran district on Monday. All the weapons and fake notes worth Rs. 10 lakh were recovered from them.
The terrorists were found driving a white Maruti Swift with a Punjab registration number. They have been identified as Balwant Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Balbir Singh. Both Akashdeep Singh and Balwant Singh have multiple criminal cases against them.
A half-burnt drone was recovered by policemen in Tarn Taran, sources said. The terrorists burnt the machine after it failed to fly back to Pakistan, they said.
The counter-intelligence team of the Punjab Police made a similar recovery of arms in August in Amritsar, near the border with Pakistan.
“We have observed that smuggling from the Pakistani side has increased since the centre’s move on Jammu and Kashmir,” the police officer said.
The state police have asked the National Investigation Agency to probe the case.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said the weapon deliveries by drones have added a “new and serious dimension on Pakistan’s sinister designs”, and asked Home Minister Amit Shah to “handle” the problem.
“Recent incidents of Pakistan-origin drones dropping consignments of arms & ammunition is a new and serious dimension on Pakistan’s sinister designs in aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370. Request @AmitShah ji to make sure that this drone problem is handled at the earliest,” the Chief Minister tweeted.