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Fourth anniversary of Pulwama terror attack 14 February 2023: What happened, when, and how-The Pulwama incident which took place on 14 February 2019, in which terrorists attacked a paramilitary force with RDX, killed more than 40 jawans. February 14 is observed as Black Day by Indians. We reproduce excerpts from this incident with the permission of Pan Macmillan from ‘Kashmir at the Crossroads’ by Sumantra Bose.
On 14 February 2019, a 78-vehicle CRPF convoy of 2,500 paramilitary forces was on its way to Srinagar in the Kashmir Valley. The convoy started before dawn, 190 miles south of Jammu city, to reach Srinagar before dusk. The convoy was of unusually large size as the Jammu-Srinagar highway was closed for a few days due to snowfall and landslides, a common occurrence in winter.
Around 3 pm, the convoy crossed the Banihal Pass into the valley. Crossed the town of Awantipora on the highway. In its vicinity was the city of Pampore, famous for its saffron fields, followed by Srinagar. Between Avantipora and Pampore, a village named Lethipora is situated on both sides of the highway, which follows the trajectory of the Jhelum River. This place is 15 miles short of Srinagar. Pampore, Lethipora, and Awantipora are all in the Pulwama district of the valley, which is just south of Srinagar.
At 3.15 pm, as the convoy passed Lethipora, a small van swerved from the side of the highway and rammed into a bus in the convoy. The van exploded and the blast destroyed the bus, killing all forty CRPF personnel traveling in it.
Thirty-five other soldiers in vehicles in front and behind were injured. It was the deadliest attack on Indian security forces in three decades of the Kashmir insurgency. They had not suffered such a huge loss in any event since 1990. The van contained a bomb weighing several hundred kilograms, made from a mixture of RDX and ammonium nitrate.
The suicide bomber was Adil Ahmad Dar, in his early twenties, a native of Pulwama village, about 6 miles from Lethipora. He was a high-school dropout and worked as a laborer. Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistani jihadist group active in the Kashmir insurgency since 2000, claimed responsibility and released a ‘martyrdom video’ that the youth had made before the operation. In the video, he is dressed in combat gear and is brandishing an assault rifle.
Adil Dar was arrested six times between September 2016 and March 2018. The first arrest was in September 2016 for stone pelting. Another arrest was made for stone pelting, and for four militants suspected of being OGWs (overground workers), a term used by the security apparatus to describe individuals assisting insurgents. He was released without charge each time. After the sixth arrest, he disappeared from his village on March 19, 2018, and was missing since then. The attack was planned for 9 February 2019, the sixth anniversary of Afzal Guru’s hanging in Delhi, and was postponed due to bad weather.
Jaish-e-Mohammed (Army of the Prophet), whose founder-leader is Maulana Masood Azhar, a hardline Pakistani cleric, has a record of recruiting young Kashmiris for suicide missions.
Its first suicide attack was carried out in May 2000 by Afaq Ahmad Shah, a 17-year-old schoolboy from Khanyar, a neighborhood in Srinagar’s old city. Afaq Shah detonated a car at the main gate of the operational headquarters and cantonment on the southern outskirts of Srinagar of the Indian Army’s 15th Corps stationed in the valley, killing eight soldiers.
On 31 December 2017, three Jaish terrorists stormed into the training center of CRPF commandos in Lethipora, killing five CRPF personnel, including two Kashmiri Muslims, and shot and injured three others. Of the three-member squad, two were local Kashmiris and the third a Pakistani. The youngest of the three was 16-year-old Fardeen Ahmed Khande, a Class 10 student in a village in Tral, Burhan Wani’s home area. Khande, the son of a police constable, had left home to join Jaish in September 2017.
He did not have a background in stone-pelting but was troubled after the encounter death of a fellow villager, an HM terrorist who was his Quran tutor, in March 2017. The attack in which he participated was likely triggered by the encounter killing on 25 December 2017 of Noor Mohammad Tantray, a Kashmiri Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist active since the early 2000s.
Tantray was hidden because he was easily recognizable because of one physical characteristic: he was a dwarf, standing 3 feet tall. Fardeen Khande also made an eight-minute video before his death, in which he said in Kashmiri-accented Urdu: ‘As long as this continues, I will reach heaven. , , My friends and I heard the call of the Quran and jumped into Jihad. This will continue till the last occupying soldier leaves Kashmir.
Adil Dar’s father Ghulam Hasan Dar, a farmer, said of himself and his wife Fahmida: ‘We are in pain because soldiers have families’. Accusing political leaders, he said that the Kashmir dispute ‘should have been resolved through talks’. , , Common man’s sons die here, be it Indian soldiers or ours.
Outrage and demand for revenge across India
The attack of 14 February 2019 caused an uproar across India, with some television channels calling for revenge. Outrage grew as the cremation of CRPF jawans began to take place in different parts of the country – the forty jawans were from sixteen different states across India. On 24 February, hundreds of activists of independent and pro-Pakistan political groups were arrested in the Valley, including JKLF leader Yasin Malik, and in March both the JKLF and Jamaat-e-Islami were declared banned organizations by the Modi government . Federal Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), enacted in 1967.
Attack on Pakistan by Indian Air Force
Then, on the night of 25–26 February, Mirage-2000 jets of the Indian Air Force struck an alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp near Balakot, a town in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Pakistani ‘Azad’ Kashmir. Bombed on.
Balakot was badly affected by the October 2005 earthquake, whose epicenter was in the northern part of ‘Azad’ Kashmir around Muzaffarabad. The air strike was not detected by the Pakistanis and all the aircraft returned to India safely. The Indians claimed that a large number of terrorists had been killed, and the Pakistanis denied any casualties, saying that an uninhabited wooded hill was bombed. The aerial bombardment, and that the target site was in Pakistan, albeit just beyond the ‘Azad’ Kashmir border, marked a significant escalation.
On the morning of 27 February, the Pakistani Air Force crossed the Line of Control and carried out indiscriminate attacks in Rajouri district of the Jammu region, which was adjacent to the Line of Control. A dogfight broke out along the Line of Control as Indian aircraft were repelled in response.
An Indian MiG-21 fighter aircraft was shot down and its pilot ejected on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control, where he was almost stood over by local villagers before being detained by a Pakistani Army unit.
The Pakistanis released the pilot on 1 March and he was flown back to India at Wagah, the main border crossing point near Lahore. There was no further escalation of hostilities, but the flare-up was a stark reminder of the dangers of escalation posed by a limited Kashmir insurgency, especially in the form of deliberately timed attacks by provocative groups like the JeM.
The current government of India got electoral advantage
The crisis came at a politically opportune time for the Modi government to ramp up its rhetoric and show some military might, on the eve of India’s general election in April–May 2019, which decisively won Modi and the BJP a slightly increased parliamentary mandate. returned to power with a majority.
Pulwama attack: NIA probe report cites criminal conspiracy by Jaish-e-Mohammed
In a sensational revelation of the 2019 Pulwama terror attack, it has been revealed that the terror attack was the result of a well-planned criminal conspiracy hatched by the leadership of the Pakistan-based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammed. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in its chargesheet has said that Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, along with his brothers Abdul Rauf Asghar and Ammar Alvi, was in constant touch with the attackers through WhatsApp calls and messages.