In a daring attack by the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad blasted a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy of 70 vehicles killing at least 20 personnel at Avantipura in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday. Of the injured 13 personnel were stated to be a critical condition and have been moved to the Army base hospital in Srinagar.
According to Home ministry sources that terrorists triggered the car bomb while the convoy was plying through the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Goripora area. One of the vehicles bore the brunt of the explosion and the stretch where the incident occurred was largely believed to be sanitised of terror activities, and the authorities have termed it as a ‘serious breach’ of security.
The Union Minister, General VK Singh, lashed out at the terrorists who had carried out the attack. ‘As a soldier and a citizen of India, my blood boils at the spineless and cowardly attacks. Eighteen bravehearts from @crpfindia laid down their lives in #Pulwama. I salute their selfless sacrifice & promise that every drop of our soldier's blood will be avenged,’ he tweeted. The Home Ministry has termed it as a ‘possible suicide(fidayeen) attack’, but there is no confirmation on the exact manner in which the terror strike was executed.
The CRPF Director General, Mr. Vijay Kumar, said the convoy was carrying at least 2,500 personnel. ‘Senior officers are at the spot and an investigation is underway. The injured are being taken care of.’ The Congress president, Mr. Rahul Gandhi, said he was deeply disturbed by the ‘cowardly attack’ ‘My condolences to the families of our martyrs. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured,’ he tweeted.
While the former Chief Minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah, termed it as an attack ‘reminiscent of the dark days of militancy pre 2004-05, the Peoples Democratic Party chief, Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, condemned the manner in which terrorism had brought the Valley to its knees. ‘Disturbing news coming in from #awantipura. Twelve of our security personnel have been martyred and several have been injured. No words are enough to condemn the gruesome terror attack. How many more lives will be snuffed out before this madness ends?’
Several politicians, including the Delhi Chief Minister, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, the Rajasthan Chief Ministerm, Mr. Ashok Gehlot, and Congress leader Mr. Randeep Surjewala,also posted their condolences.
This is said to be the worst terror strike on security personnel since the Uri attack of September 2016, when four heavily armed terrorists targeted an Army brigade headquarters, causing over 19 deaths. The Army had responded with a cross-border surgical strike in which several enemy installations were reportedly destroyed.
The state police have launched an investigation into the attack and have identified an attacker as Adil Ahmad from Kakapora in Pulwama. Adil Ahmad joined the Jaish e Mohammad in 2018. The Union Minister of State for Home, Mr. Subhash Bhamre, condemned the attack and said: ‘Those responsible will not be spared’.