Governance Terrorism

Suicide Bombing Returns: Pulwama Terror Attack

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Around 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a convoy in which they were travelling was attacked by a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber, who rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into one of the convoy’s buses near Awantipora on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, reports Navodita. A Different Truths exclusive.

Around 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a convoy in which they were travelling was attacked by a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber, who rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into one of the convoy’s buses near Awantipora on the Srinagar-Jammu highway. The bombing in Awantipora’s Lethpora area in Pulwama district also left at least eight troops critically injured and was the deadliest attack in terms of casualties in the last three decades of militancy in the state. Hospital sources said the toll was likely to rise as the condition of eight injured jawans was critical.

About 2, 500 personnel were travelling to the Valley at the time of the attack. Gunshots followed the blast, according to locals. The personnel under attack belonged to 92, 17 and 54 Battalions of the CRPF. A senior police officer, who declined to be identified, said that preliminary inputs suggest that it was a remote-controlled detonation with a group of militants overseeing the operation. The explosion was so powerful that it was felt in Srinagar, about 30 km away. Two vehicles, including the one carrying the bomber, were blown into smithereens. Eyewitnesses said only the charred skeletal frames of the vehicles hit by the blast were seen on the roadside, while several buses in the convoy sustained severe damage. The attack raises questions over security on the national highway, which is patrolled by the local police, CRPF and Army on a daily basis.

Immediately after the attack, the JeM claimed responsibility and released a picture of its local operative, who had carried out the attack. He was identified as Adil Ahmad Dar alias ‘Waqas Commando’, a resident of Pulwama’s Kakapora. According to the police, Dar joined the outfit in 2018 and was a Class 10 dropout. Curfew has been imposed in Jammu & Kashmir.

The toll in this attack exceeded the fatalities inflicted by militants in Uri, in 2016, when 19 Armymen were killed near the LoC. Some other big attacks by JeM in Jammu and Kashmir since 1999 are enlisted here- on November 3, 1999, JeM carried out its first fidayeen attack by recruiting a local boy, Afad, Ahmad Shah, in which six security personnel were killed.

In 2001, 38 people were killed when a three-member JeM squad blew up a car outside J&K Assembly. On December 5, 2014, JeM’s Guru squad carried out attack on the Mohura camp in Uri near the Line of Control. In this seventeen people were killed, including 11 security personnel. On January 2, 2016, JeM militants targeted the Pathankot airbase. Three security personnel were killed. On November 29, 2016, JeM militants attacked the Nagrota Army camp in which ten soldiers were killed. On August 26, 2017, three Jaish terrorists stormed the District Police Lines, Pulwama in which eight security personnel were killed and assailants were shot dead.

On December 30, 2017, Fidayeen targeted the District Police Lines once again in which five CRPF personnel were killed. On February 10, 2018, JeM carried out a Fidayeen attack on the Sunjuwan Army Camp in Jammu in which eleven soldiers, four attackers and one civilian lost their lives. On July 14, 2018, militants attacked the District Police Lines in Pulwama in which eight security personnel were killed.

Now, a National Investigation Agency (NIA) team, with a suitable forensic component, would also be leaving on Friday to assist the J&K police in forensic evaluation of the scene of the crime. Last year, 614 terrorist-related incidents were reported in J&K, the highest in the past six years.

Video Courtesy: NDTV

Immediately after the incident, Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, “Today’s dastardly attack on CRPF in Pulwama (J&K) is extremely painful and disturbing. I bow to each and every CRPF jawan who has sacrificed his life in service to the nation. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.”

This attack poses a new challenge to the security apparatus. The JeM and LeT are jockeying for power among the militant groups and use more ferocious attacks to take centrestage and recruit more locals. The police said that in post-Burhan Wani killing situation, the JeM started recruiting young boys in 2017 from massive rallies carried out in south Kashmir in favour of slain militants. This is something the security personnel need to become more vigilant towards in the next few months.

After a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the withdrawal of Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan was announced. The External Affairs Ministry summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood and issued a strong ‘demarche’ in connection with the terror attack. Several nations, including the United States and even the United Nations, have condemned the attack.

©Navodita Pande

Photos from the Internet

#Pulwaraattack #terrorism #SrinagarJammuhighway #JawansKilled

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