New Delhi: A year after the Pulwama terror attack where 40 CRPF personnel were killed, India still remembers the brave hearts who succumbed to the high-grade explosives used by the car-borne suicide bomber.
It was a routine day for security personnel and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans, who were travelling on the National Highway 44 when Jammu and Kashmir witnessed its worst terror attacks in years.
Reportedly, at around 3:15 pm on February 14, 2019, a convoy of CRPF jawans was hit by an explosives-laden SUV on the Srinagar-Jammu highway. The attack, which was reported near Awantipora, resulted in the death of 40 CRPF jawans while many others were left injured.
The attack was later claimed by Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed. The attacker was identified as Adil Ahmad Dar, a local from Pulwama district, and a member of Jaish-e-Mohammed.
In The Wake Of The Attack:
India witnessed massive protests, bandhs, candlelight marches across states to express solidarity with the jawans martyred in Pulwama terror attack. A delegation of Indian doctors cancelled their visit to Pakistan for the 13th Association of Anaesthesiologists Congress in Lahore on 7 March.
Following the Pulwama terror attack, the government of India raised the customs duty on all Pakistani goods imported to India, to 200 per cent.
Answer To The Attack:
On 26 February, 12 Mirage 2000 jets of the Indian Air Force crossed the Line of Control and dropped bombs into Balakot, Pakistan. Pakistan’s military announced the airstrike on the morning of February 26 stating that the Indian planes dropped payload in an uninhabited wooded hilltop area near Balakot.
The following day, February 27, Pakistan shot down an Indian warplane and took Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman captive for 60 hours.
NIA & Its Investigation:
Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is scrambling to find a Pakistan link to the attack and is yet to trace the source of the attack.
A senior government official said the explosives could not have been purchased off the shelf as it was “warfare ammunition generally found in military stores.” A forensic report said that around 25 kg of plastic explosives were used.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday filed a supplementary charge sheet against four Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) aides of Pulwama attack mastermind in a case of conspiring militant acts across country. The NIA had last September filed a charge sheet claiming that JeM’s Sajjad Ahmad Khan, a close aide of Pulwama attack mastermind Mudassir Ahmad Khan, was conspiring attacks across India.
The supplementary charge sheet was filed against four JeM operatives under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 121 A (waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the government of India) of IPC, and various sections of stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sections of Explosives Substances Act.
The NIA probe has hit hurdles and it could not file a charge sheet as none of the key suspects is alive. Two main suspects-Mudasir Ahmed Khan and Sajjad Bhat, were killed in an encounter with security forces last year in March and June respectively.