42 Indian troops killed in Pulwama suicide attack

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SRINAGAR: At least 42 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) members were killed and over 45 seriously injured in a suicide attack when an explosive-laden car rammed into a bus in which they were travelling near Letapora of Pulwama in South Kashmir. Gunshots were heard from the area following the high-intensity blast.

CRPF DG RR Bhatnagar said the convoy, carrying the soldiers, was travelling from Jammu to Srinagar when the attack occurred. Terrorists continued to fire at the convoy even after the bus was completely charred. The convoy consisted of 70 vehicles carrying about 2500 soldiers. Two CRPF vehicles were damaged in the attack. The attack has reportedly happened on a heavily guarded highway.

The DGP of J-K Police, Dilbag Singh, confirmed that it was a suicide attack in which an explosive-laden car was rammed into the CRPF bus. The bus was completely destroyed and mutilated bodies of the jawans lay scattered on the road that also bore blood stains.

At least 13 troops were killed on the spot and others succumbed in the hospital.

The injured troops have been rushed to the 92 Base hospital of the Military and CRPF hospital.

Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack, in a text message to Kashmiri News Agency GNS. A spokesman of JeM claimed that the attack was carried out by their activist Aadil Ahmad of Gundi Bagh in Pulwama.

Militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad said it was a fidayeen attack carried out by a local youth. Police identified the terrorist as Adil Ahmad from Kakapora in Pulwama. He joined the Jaish-Mohammed in 2018.

Adil Ahmed Dar

As per commuters list, there were 39 personnel travelling in the bus. The IED blast reduced the bus to a mangled heap of iron and body parts could be seen strewn around the area, the agency reported.

“There were 70 vehicles in the convoy and one of the vehicles came under attack. The convoy was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar,” said CRPF (Operations) Inspector General Zulfiqar Hassan adding that the Jammu and Kashmir police have taken over the investigation into the terror attack. “There were about 2500 personnel in the convoy,” news agency ANI quoted CRPF Director General RR Bhatnagar as saying on Pulwama attack.

Role of Adil

The car that rammed a CRPF bus in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, killing nearly 40 jawans on Thursday, was driven by Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist Adil Ahmad Dar, officers said. Adil Ahmad, also known as “Adil Ahmad Gaadi Takranewala” and “Waqas Commando of Gundibagh”, joined the terror outfit last year. He was from Kakapora.

There were 350 kg of explosives in the Scorpio that he rammed into a bus carrying some 40 personnel, say the police. His photo and videos emerged soon after the deadly attack, the worst in decades. “My name is Adil, I joined the Jaish e Mohammad a year ago. After a year’s wait, I have got the chance to do what I joined the Jaish for… By the time this video reaches you, I will be in heaven… this is my last message for the people of Kashmir,” Adil Ahmad says in the video, as part of an anti-India rant.

He is armed with rifles and standing in front of what appear to be Jaish-e-Mohammad banners in the video. Investigators are baffled at the scale of the attack, given that almost the entire leadership of Jaish has been wiped out over the years.

Last year, security forces had claimed a big win after Mohammad Usman, believed to be the head of the module behind sniper attacks on forces in the Kashmir Valley, was killed by security men. Usman was the nephew of Moulana Masood Azhar, the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad. In 2017, security forces killed Jaish’s operational chief Khalid in Baramulla.

Modi’s comments

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the terror attack on the CRPF convoy. “Attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama is despicable. I strongly condemn this dastardly attack. Sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain. The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of the brave martyrs. May the injured recover quickly,” PM Modi was quoted as saying by ANI.

PM Modi spoke to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other top officials regarding the situation in the wake of the attack in Pulwama, the agency said. Singh, who spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik and CRPF’s Bhatnagar over Pulwama attack, will be visiting Srinagar on Friday.

Rahul’s comments

Reacting to the terror incident, Congress president Rahul Gandhi termed it a “cowardly attack”. Gandhi wrote on Twitter, “I’m deeply disturbed by the cowardly attack on a #CRPF convoy in J&K in which 10 of our brave men have been martyred and many others wounded. My condolences to the families of our martyrs. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.”