Jammu: The police on Tuesday detained a 17-year old Afghanistan citizen in Kathua after he was caught near Covid 19 testing facility at Lakhanpur- the gateway of J&K.
SSP Kathua R C Kotwal, while talking to media persons, stated that the minor was apprehended by a police naka party this morning at Lakhanpur. During preliminary investigation, the boy revealed that he had come along with his brother, a soldier in the Afghan army, presently under treatment in New Delhi’s R R hospital.
Later in the evening, SSP Kotwal, while talking to Greater Kashmir, said that the boy had travelled with a valid document so being a minor he could be given a benefit of doubt. Nevertheless the authenticity of his documents was being verified through FRO- the office which deals with the registration of foreigners and their visa extension.
With regard to reports that he was not having proper (hard copies) of travel documents with him, SSP Kathua stated, “No. We have procured soft copies of those documents. We’re verifying them through FRO which will clarify the status. He is a minor so we can give him some sort of benefit of doubt also, since he has travelled with a valid document. Even if he has come to J&K or Punjab or to this side without a travel document...that we’re verifying what is to be done with that.”
He confirmed that so far he was detained and not arrested. SSP Kotwal said, “Yes, he is still with us. We’re still verifying till now. It has been confirmed that he has travelled to India on valid documents. Yes, so far no case has been registered against him.”
Earlier in the morning, SSP Kathua, in a brief presser outside Lakhanpur Police Station, had maintained, “The boy has been apprehended by a police naka party at Lakhanpur this morning at around 6.30 to 7.00 o’clock. Preliminary investigation has been conducted and it has come to surface that he has come along with his brother for a treatment at RR hospital New Delhi. His brother, he says, is under treatment at RR hospital and his brother works in the Afghan army. We’re verifying the fact that how come he landed up at Lakhanpur in Kathua.”
Can his case be linked to the alarming situation in Afghanistan after it was taken over by Taliban, responding to this query, SSP said, “Many people are travelling on valid documents also. Let us verify all facts as to how he has come and what his purpose is.” “Nothing (incriminating material) has been recovered so far. He has carried some Indian currency along with some Afghan currency and a mobile. That’s all,” he informed.
When asked whether the External Affairs ministry confirmed the validity and authenticity of his documents, SSP maintained, “We’re verifying that. It’ll take some time.” He averred that the minor’s objective behind entering J&K was also being ascertained.
“It’s a matter of verification and we’re verifying it,” he said.
Earlier official sources informed that the boy had arrived along with his injured soldier-brother in July along with 10 people in New Delhi. Today he was apprehended from an inter-state bus from Delhi after all its passengers were de-boarded for mandatory Covid 19- testing at Lakhanpur. Those fully vaccinated are not required to go for testing.