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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 June, 2003, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Cyclist outwits Kashmir troops
Mohammad Ishfaq (second from right) and his bicycle
Mr Ishfaq (second from right) says he had no idea where he was
An angry young Pakistani man has strayed undetected across one of the world's most heavily militarised frontiers - by mistake.

Mohammad Ishfaq, 20, ended up deep inside Indian-held territory after going off in a huff following a row with his family, police say.

He is now in the custody of Indian border guards, who are holding him while they check whether he is a spy.

Hundreds of thousands of troops are deployed along the frontier between India and Pakistan, who nearly went to war last year.

Indian soldiers
Tens of thousands of soldiers keep watch along the border
Large stretches of the border are heavily mined, and there are frequent incidents of shelling.

But Mr Ishfaq was spotted by no one as he crossed the international line - and apparently did not know where he was.

"He seems to have lost his way and crossed over to this side cycling through fields and mudtracks," a senior Indian police official told Reuters news agency.

"He says he fought with his parents and left home angry and was just cycling around."

Shocked

Mr Ishfaq left home in Pakistan's Sialkot border district on Sunday, and had gone 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) into Indian-administered Kashmir before being stopped.

Villagers near the town of Jammu say he was shocked to learn his whereabouts.

The BBC's Binoo Joshi in Jammu says it could take some time before the hapless cyclist is allowed to go home.

Unlawfully crossing the sensitive frontier carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail - although at this stage Mr Ishfaq appears unlikely to face that.

His adventure is not the first embarrassing episode for troops at the border.

In 1994, a motor cyclist strayed onto the Indian side from Pakistan.

He tried to pay for petrol in Pakistani currency but was told it was useless in Indian territory.




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