At least 40 paramilitary troops of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed in the worst terror attack faced by Kashmir’s rebellion in three decades. The surprise attack by a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber left the nation in shock and anger while Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave security forces a free hand to strike back with equal force. On Thursday, Jaish bomber Adil Ahmed Dar, 20, rammed an SUV loaded with 350 kilograms of explosives into one of the buses — carrying 35-40 troopers — out of a 78-vehicle CRPF convoy. Although 40 were killed during the assault, many wounded workers are now battling for their life.
What Happened On February 14 Pulwama attack
The Jammu convoy just plucked three times in the last fortnight, as snow blocked the route and since February 4, CRPF jawans have been stuck in Jammu.
Sixteen vehicles dropped off at Qazigund when they reached their destination but 16 ‘mobile bunkers’ joined the convoy to deal with terrorist ambushes that rise beyond Qazigund. The convoy departed from Qazigund at 2:38.
An explosive-laden vehicle entered from a left bylane on the Jammu-Srinagar highway at Awantipora Latoomode in Pulwama. This overtook a truck, which detonated fourth in the convoy. Blowing the bus to smithereens. The blast had also impacted the sixth bus.
The 78-vehicle convoy, carrying 2,547 jawans, left Jammu transit camp at 3:30 am. The jawans returned from vacation or went to deployment zones.
Approximately 40 CRPF jawans have died, 39 on the 5th bus, and one from the ROP. Five more people were wounded in the 6th plane.
It is the first time a suicide bomber has targeted a CRPF convoy with an explosively-laden truck. They used about 80 kg of explosives for the attack.
Time and exact place of Pulwama attack
The Pulwama terror attack happened on February 14, 2019, when more than 2,500 CRPF jawans were escorted from Jammu to Srinagar by a 78-vehicle convoy At approximately 3:30 p.m., a Mahindra Scorpio SUV packed with 350 kilograms of explosives rammed into one of the convoy busses on National Highway 44 at Lethipora near Avantipora City.
The surprise attack instantly blew up the bus, killing at least 40 of the 76th Battalion personnel while others continue to fight for their lives; the injured were immediately transferred to the base hospital in Srinagar.
Who was behind the Attack
This was a destructive offensive-the the worst perpetrated in decades against Indian troops.
It shocked the country, as newspapers and TV screens were filled with stories of soldiers and their shattered families. Some had just returned from a visit home; others had called a family member hours before the attack; a few were speaking to them on the phone when the explosives went off.
Adil Ahmad Dar was identified hours later, when the Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, released a video online saying it had carried out the attack. Dar seems to be exhibiting no regret about what he’s doing in the video. He said he joined the group in 2018 and was eventually “assigned” the task of carrying out the attack in Pulwama.
He said that by the time the video was released he would be in Jannat (heaven).
Security agencies in Jammu and Kashmir have found that Mohd Ismail Alvi, a member of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), had plotted the major attack Pulwama that was averted on Wednesday night. The investigators found that Ismail is allegedly a bomb maker and also a relative of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar.
The international diplomatic reaction of Pulwama attack
More than 45 countries responded to the dastardly assault on CRPF jawans like the US and China. The United States not only condemned the attack but also attacked Pakistan for harboring terrorists.
This warned the country that terrorists or other terror groups would be refused safe harbor. Russian President Vladamir Putin has shared his condolences to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his successor, President Ram Nath Kovind.
France has denounced the assault and increased assistance in fighting terror networks and cut down on funds to deter future cross-border assaults. While China expressed condolences and condemned the act of terror, it still did not change its stance on Masood Azhar, who is the founder of Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Support also poured in from Australia, the European Union, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bangladesh, and a host of other countries.
How India responded to the Pulwama Attack
Following the assault, tensions erupted between India and Pakistan. India India invited Pakistan ‘s highest diplomat and objected strongly.
Prime Minister affirmed that the security forces were permitted to chose the time, venue, and essence of their response to the Pulwama terror assault.
“All tears must be avenged” and “complete independence has been granted to the armed forces to determine the location, date, strength, and essence of the revenge against the enemy.” I feel the same fire in my heart that rages inside you, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
Protests against the dastardly terror attack erupted across the nation. Several countries have condemned the attack including Pakistan’s all-weather friend China.
India undertook robust diplomatic attempts to label JeM Leader Masood Azhar as a global jihadist, which finally became a fact on May 1 when China raised its legal grip on a resolution put forth by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France in the UN Security Council ‘s Committee of 1267.
India reply: IAF attack at Balakot JeM camp
In the wee hours of 26 February, some 12 days after the terror assault, jets from the Indian Air Force attacked the JeM camp in Balakot, Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“In an intelligence-led operation in the early hours of today (Feb 26), India struck the largest JeM training camp in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders, and jihadist groups were eliminated that were being trained for fidayeen action. MAULANA YOUSUF AZHAR (alias USTAD GHOURI), the brother-in-law of MASOOD AZHAR, President of JeM, led this facility at Balakot, “the then Foreign Secretary said in a press conference later that day.
Pakistan’s failure to strike
IAF foiled a PAF attempt to strike at military installations in Jammu and Kashmir a day later on 27 February. Throughout the aerial skirmish, a much-advanced PAF F-16 was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman piloting a MiG-21 Bison helicopter.
The plane, though, was also struck and the parachute crashed at PoK, where he was held prisoner by the Pakistan Army, after ejection.
Two days later, under international pressure, Pakistan released the IAF pilot, who returned to a hero’s welcome in his homeland.
One Year of Pulwama Attack
A year has passed since the deadly Pulwama attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel. But the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has still not been able to unearth the conspiracy behind the orchestrated killings that led to India’s strike in Pakistani territory.
The agency that is investigating the case has, as of today, not filed a charge-sheet nor was it able to source the origin of the heavy explosives used in the attack.
According to sources in the NIA, the only clear information available regarding the attack is the explosives used — ammonium nitrate, nitroglycerin, and RDX.
The explanation behind the near-dead event of the NIA is that none of the main suspects are alive.
The National Investigative Agencies has been investigating the incident for last year without any tangible results. Either the evidence is destroyed or if the evidence is available, it is too inconvenient to be disclosed. Any conclusion that the Jaish-e-Mohammad group is responsible for the incident is a no brainer because they have already claimed responsibility.
The press conference held by the Indian Army a few days after the incident to announce that those involved in the attack in Pulwama had been identified and eliminated was nothing but face-saving exercise. How did the very agencies that had failed to provide advance information about the incident suddenly become so efficient? Also if they had such detailed information, why could they not share it in advance?
It is in this context that the role of recently arrested Deputy Superintendent Davinder Singh of the Jammu and Kashmir Police needs to be put under closer scrutiny. Was it a mere coincidence that he had links with a man executed for his involvement in the Parliament attack case? Some reports immediately after Singh’s arrest suggest that he was posted at Pulwama around the time of the attack.
Massive intelligence failure
The most obvious mistake was the multi-agency major Security loss. The questions asked after the attack about how such a large quantity of RDX could be procured by the perpetrator, loaded in the vehicle, and brought to the scene of crime remain unanswered. Why weren’t the intelligence agencies able to trace the footprints, electronic or otherwise, which the perpetrators must have left behind while planning such massive operation and tying up logistics? Even the internal inquiry report of CRPF appears to have concluded that there was a massive intelligence failure.
Repeated intelligence failure occurs because those manning these agencies fail to differentiate between information and Intelligence. Our intelligence agencies seem to have forgotten the art of corroborating and synthesizing pieces of information to establish a pattern for dissemination to the operational levels. This is because most of those responsible to carry out analysis in the intelligence agencies are on temporary lien for a short period. By the time they learn the art, it is time for them to go back to their home cadres. The transitory leadership of these specialized agencies is neither familiar nor able to cope with the high standards of professionalism required in these organizations.