Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine A sudden spike in smuggling on the Indo-Pak border has seen the BSF gun down 10 drug couriers so far in 2012. Sai Manish reports BSF MEN patrolling the fenced frontier with Pakistan are bracing for their deadliest summer ever. From shooting down ruthless smugglers armed with Beretta pump-action shotguns to seizing massive hauls of drugs and fake currency, the troopers are surprised by the sudden spurt in smuggling activities since the turn of the new year. In the first quarter of 2012, the BSF has intercepted 127 kg of heroin (thatâ€™s double of what it caught in the whole of 2011 and more than its busts in 2010); interdicted 10 armed intruders â€” nine Pakistanis and an Indian â€” carrying heroin (in 2011, the BSF managed to shoot down four smugglers near the Punjab border); and with 13 guns seized, the BSF has already equalled its entire gun haul of the past two years. â€œThey just keep coming. Most of these men are hired for the job and some might be from the border villages across no manâ€™s land,â€ says a BSF officer on the condition of anonymity. â€œThey are becoming more emboldened now because the Pakistanis have reduced deployment on the other side to send more forces to the Afghan border. The (Pakistan) Rangers have seven battalions stationed at the fence whose operational strength has been reduced by a third this year. This fall in vigil has dramatically encouraged drug runners and arms couriers who want to take a risk.â€ . . . . The UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which released a report on 17 April, states that there has been a bumper harvest in nine of Afghanistanâ€™s 19 opium-growing provinces. That should keep the BSF busy at the fence this year more than ever.