Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Spy Tales from 70s


In June 1977, Jammu and Kashmir had some interesting visitors from across the border. Five Pakistani men and a woman from Lahore illegally crossed border from Sialkot and walked into Jammu. The woman was a performing artist named Haseena and she was traveling with a purpose. From Jammu, the woman and the troupe travelled to Shopian in Kashmir where she assumed the name - Gul Afroze. She stayed in town for about ten days and then made her way to Srinagar. In Srinagar she rented out two houseboats and kept rotating her residence between the two boats. A few days later she tried to get herself enrolled as a casual artiste in a Central Government department. During a routine "character verification" check with Intelligence Bureau the plot went bust. Haseena was quietly flown out to an undisclosed location. It was revealed that Pakistan's Military Intelligence had enrolled talented girls for spying in Kashmir, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The ring had been active in Jammu & Kashmir since 1973, supplying inflowing of military movement to Pakistan by co opting Indian military and Army officers.

Pakistan came up with the plan under Z.A. Bhutto at the end of Indo-Pak war of 1971. Bhutto re-organized the counter Intelligence wing of Pakistan's intelligence Bureau and Military Intelligence. The objective was to carry out subversive activity in Kashmir and collect vital military information.

In March 1979, 60 men and officers of Indian Army posted in Samba sector were investigated for passing information to Pakistan. Many of these men, including 2 Army officers were found guilty and handed over long prison sentences. About 50 to 60 per cent of arrested Army officers, including senior and junior officers, were alleged to be directly involved while a major-general, two brigadiers and one colonel acted as accomplices.


B. L. Kak writes in his "Kashmir: The Untold story of Men and Matters" (1987):

"Towards the end of April 1979 it was stated that 25 to 30 members of the gang had visited Pakistan individually and collectively from time to time under the veil of secrecy. This disclosure was followed by the circulation of a report that two officers of the Indian Army, stationed in Kashmir, would be punished on charges of "objectionable" activity and misuse of the official position. The two officers, a brigadier and a major, had been accused of spying for Pakistan with the help of two women. These two women - mother and daughter - were identified as residents of a border town in the west of Srinagar. The middle-aged woman (mother) was given the title of "captain" by a Pakistani Intelligence agency, while the daughter, educated and charming with a husky voice, was trained and encouraged until she gained experience to infiltrate into some Army circles in Kashmir.

The middle-aged woman managed to keep her adversaries at a distance in spite of the fact that she had been described as a "Pakistani Agent" in the official records of Intelligence Bureau and the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in the past. A local contractor of the area had wanted to enter into matrimonial alliance with her daughter. But he had to withdraw from the field in the wake of the reported advice from the Pakistani Intelligence agency that it wold be useful to rope in the Indian Army major, who was then posted to that area, as the husband of the charming girl. And as the mother of the girl had a reason to oblige the Pak agency, the Army major was lured to roll down to become her son-in-law, although the marriage between the two was arranged in secrecy. Some time after his marriage the Army major received orders of his transfer to a place outside Kashmir. Happily for him, the major managed to get himself posted to Kashmir again with the help of his wife. The lady wooed a former minister in Delhi and subsequently tricked a senior brigadier of the indian army in Srinagar before the latter became a friend of her family."

In August 1979, a lieutenant colonel of Military Intelligence wing in Kashmir, was accused of having prepared a secret 20 page document for Pakistan.

The document was earlier seized in third week of July near Laghama in Uri Sector by men of Intelligence wing of Border Security Force. The matter was dropped after much controversy between Army and BSF. K.M Singh of the intelligence Bureau as well as Mahesh Shanker, Ghulam Jeelani Pandit, A.M. Lone and Rathinder Kaul from CID refused that the document was prepared for Pakistan.

In November 1980, some captured smugglers revealed that BSF Dakota planes were getting used to fly hashish balls from Srinagar to Amritsar and Delhi.

Kashmir was big money, and men were small fish in mouth of invisible big fish. The real fishing season arrived in 1990.

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