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17 February, 2019 12:28:13 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 February, 2019 12:32:04 PM
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Volatile Kashmir valley

A day after the attack, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that he had given the forces a free hand to respond to the terror attack, even while warning those behind the attack that they have to pay a heavy price
Kumkum Chadha
Volatile Kashmir valley

When 2,548 CRPF personnel departed from Jammu transit camp at 3.30 am on Thursday, little did they know what awaited them. Many of the personnel were going back to work. It was at 2.15 pm that the convoy  reached Qazigund in Anantnag district: 14 vehicles stopped at Qazigund. 16 bulletproof vehicles joined the convoy at Qazigund, considered to be a sensitive stretch. The fact that additional bulletproof vehicles were added at this point was not because of any perceived threat but more so because it is a Standard Operating Procedure to do so in a sensitive zone.
In less than an hour, the convoy left from Qazigund to reach near milestone 272 in about an hour: the place where the attack took place.
No one spotted the explosive laden Scorpio which was at a distance from milestone 272: parked near the link road, some distance from the highway. The attacker reportedly had come from the nearby village and parked himself strategically near the link road from where he could clearly see the convoy pass.  The route had been cleared and it seems the attacker was aware of the Road Opening Procedure. The bus that was attacked was 5th in the convoy line and the attacker took a left turn from the highway when he saw the convoy pass, overtook the bus and detonated.
The blast “so big that the ground shook” according to eye witness accounts killed as many as  40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in the attack that took place in south Kashmir’s Awantipora area.

 The well-planned attack used a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (known as VBIED) to target a CRPF bus that was part of a 70-vehicle convoy.

The convoy,  on the Srinagar-Jammu highway,  was on its way to Pulwama when a suicide bomber belonging to the terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad drove an explosive-laden SUV into the bus. The SUV was carrying explosives weighing nearly 300 kgs and the bus had 39 jawans on board.

At least 40 jawans who were part of the convoy were killed in the resulting explosion. Two of the jawans who were killed were part of the road-opening party, which travels a short distance away from the main convoy.

The suicide bomber had rammed a SUV carrying 350 kg of explosives into a bus in what is being described as  “the deadliest attack in decades” on security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

The bus that was targetted by the suicide bomber was completely destroyed in the attack. Pulwama resembled a war zone and the site  where the attack took place had  body parts and vehicle debris strewn about.

The convoy was made up of buses, trucks and SUVs. Each vehicle was carrying 35-40 jawans of the CRPF.

The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack and identified the suicide bomber as  Adil Ahmad Dar. In a video of his that was released he is seen brandishing rifles and standing in front of Jaish-e-Mohammad banners.

According to police records, Addil Ahmad Dar, 22, was a school dropout from Gundibagh village in south Kashmir's Pulwama. He dropped out of class 12 in a local school in Gundibagh in March 2017.

He was given the name of Waqas commando by terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad. His village is barely 10 kilometres from the spot where his car, laden with explosives, rammed into a bus carrying Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel.

He had joined the terror outfit last year in 2018.

Also known as "Adil Ahmad Gaadi Takranewala" and "Waqas Commando of Gundibagh" he became a part of Masood Azhar led Jaish-e-Mohammed only last year. A school dropout, Adil Ahmad was from Gundibagh village in south Kashmir. Gundibagh is a known breeding ground of terrorists of Pulwama district. Dar dropped out of school in March 2017 and joined Pakistan based terror outfit.

“By the time this video reaches you, I will be in heaven... this is my last message for the people of Kashmir," is a message Adil sent through a video minutes before carrying out the the dastardly attack in the Pulwama district. Addressing the Kashmiri people, he said:  "The war that they can't win with force, they are trying to win by compromising your belief. They want to mislead you from the etiquettes of Islam.

They want to mislead you from the path of Islam by luring you with worldly pleasures”, adding that finally he has got a chance to do what he had joined the Jaish for one year ago.

A day after the attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that he had  given the forces a free hand to respond to the terror attack, even while warning those behind the attack that they have made a grave mistake and will have to pay a heavy price: “"Security forces have been given permission to take decisions about the timing, place and nature of their response... This is an India of new convention and policy."

Meanwhile in Srinagar, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh carried the coffin with a soldier’s body right upto the vehicle.

India on Friday withdrew the 'Most-Favoured Nation' status to Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF jawans.

Most Favoured Nation status is given to an international trade partner to ensure non-discriminatory trade between all partner countries of the WTO.

A country which provides MFN status to another country has to provide concessions, privileges, and immunity in trade agreements.

 This is not the first time neither will it be the last that Pakistan sponsored terrorism will tear peace apart.

India will give warnings to Pakistan to mend its ways but the errant neighbour will pay no heed. It shall continue to provoke India and test its patience while denying its role in backing terrorists or sponsoring terrorism.

If one of the flagged transcripts is anything to go by, there is a disturbing message which said: “Bada hona chahiye, Hindustan rona chahiye, it should be big, India should cry, then it is evident that India has to go beyond words and limited surgical strikes and to use the same quote from the transcript do something which is “bada hona chahiye”.

The writer is a senior Indian journalist, political commentator and columnist of The Independent. She can be reached at: (kumkum91@gmail.com)

SHK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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