March 2019 News

J&K Police Says Has Averted Two Pulwama-like Attacks In Kashmir Valley

13 March 2019
India Today
Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday said it has been successful in preventing two 'Pulwama-like' strikes from taking place in the valley in recent days. On February 14, Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama saw the worst attack in the history of the valley. A Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber drove into a CRPF convoy, killing over 40 jawans. India, in retaliation, launched an airstrike on February 26 in Pakistan's Balakot and destroyed a Jaish hideout. Dilbagh Singh, DGP, Jammu and Kashmir, told India Today TV, 'We are going after militant leaders. We have averted two Pulwama-like attacks. There was a video that said there would be Fidayeen attacks by killing the main conspirators. Mudasir was an important casualty. We can say we have prevented Pulwama 2 and Pulwama 3 from taking place.' Since the dastardly Pulwama attack, the security forces have neutralised 18 terrorists - 14 of which were from the JeM. GOC, 15 corps, KJS Dhillon said, 'The main conspirators were Kamaran and Mudasir. We went after the JeM and their leadership so that they won't carry out another Pulwama-like attack.' The JeM has been notorious in carrying out suicide attacks like Pathankot (2016), Pulwama (2019) and even the Parliament attack (2001). The reigns of the Pakistan-based terror group have been held by Maulana Masood Azhar and his close aide Abdul Rauf Zargar. The terror group specialises in asymmetrical strikes and launching suicide attacks on security forces in the Kashmir Valley. In the recent past, the terror group re-strategised their modus operandi. According to intelligence sources, out of 300 terror operatives active in the Kashmir Valley, at least 70 are believed to be from the JeM. The current crop of foreign and local JeM terrorists is said to be a 50:50 ratio. Adil Ahmed Dar, the suicide bomber of Pulwama attack, and Raqeeb Ahmad Sheikh, who was killed just before he was about to launch a suicide attack on security forces were both residents of Pulwama in South Kashmir. Also, in January 2017, three JeM Fidayeen stormed the Group Centre at Lethpora, hardly some distance away from the Pulwama suicide bomb attack site. Two of them were locals, including Fardeen Ahmad Khanday, barely 16. He became the first Fidayeen in 14 years to have joined Jaish. Five CRPF personnel were killed in the attack. A 61 Battalion CRPF official, stationed in Shivpora, said, 'We had a jawan from Odisha who was killed. He was amongst the three whose body wasn't found. A half-severed head was found. We could only recognise him as our constable had a moustache, while two others in same fate were clean shaven. Unfortunately, there was no body. We convinced families to accept the body, else we would have to declare the jawan missing. And a time-taking inquiry would have to be then launched. 'Fortunately, they accepted the fate. But it was shocking. The body parts were blown apart. The legs, hands, fingers had to be matched. It has been the toughest part for the CRPF men.' A senior officer said, 'One body was found atop a telephone tower dangling with blood dripping.' But the CRPF maintained its composure despite the huge setback. To deal with the looming threat, security forces have now had major overhaul in the state. Civilian traffic is now stopped while the convoy movement is on. A box movement is employed at the end of convoy to block out any vehicle coming from infront or behind. It basically employs two empty vehicles with only driver, so that there is no space for car to take over. Zulfikar Hassan, IG Operations, CRPF, said, 'The threat assessment earlier did not include a vehicle borne-IED, so precaution was not taken against convoy vehicle movement, but now it has been done.' SP Pani, IG Kashmir, said, 'We are carrying out counter-terror operations. And we have a professional force which like to take the people along. The past one month has been a challenge for security forces, especially for the CRPF.'