Amid growing rage over the Pulwama terror attack, riders of the Storm Motorcycle Club organized a brotherhood ride to pay homage to the slain CRPF soldiers in Delhi.
India Today’s Nayanika Singhal spoke to some super bike riders to find out their views on the issue.
The 2019 Pulwama attack happened on February 14th. A convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber at Lethpora (near Awantipora) in the Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir, India. The attack resulted in the death of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and the attacker. The responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed. A Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist named Adil Ahmad Dar, a Kashmiri local, was identified as the attacker.
Starting in 2015, Pakistan-based militants in Kashmir increasingly took to high-profile suicide attacks against Indian security fores. In July 2015, three gunmen attacked a bus and police station in Gurdaspur. Early in 2016, four to six gunmen attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station. In February and June 2016, the militants killed nine and eight security personnel respectively in Pampore. In September 2016, four assailants attacked an Indian Army brigade headquarters in Uri killing 19 solders. On 31 December 2017, the Commando Training Centre at Lethpora was also attacked by militants killing five security personnel. These attacks took place in the vicinity of the Jammu Srinagar National Highway.
On February 14 2019, a convoy of 78 vehicles transporting more than 2,500 Central Reserve Police force personnel from Jammu to Srinagar was traveling on National Highway 44. The convoy had left Jammu around 3:30 IST and was carrying a large number of personnel due to the highway having been shut down for two days prior. The convoy was scheduled to reach the destination before sunset.
At Lethpora near Awantipora, aound 15:15 IST, a bus carrying security personnel was rammed by a Mahindra Scorpio SUV carrying explosives. It caused a blast which killed 40 CRPF personnel of the 76th Battalion and injured many others. The injured were moved to the army base hospital in Srinagar.
Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsiblity for the attack. They also released a video of the assailant Adil Ahmad Dar (alias Adil Ahmad Gaadi Takrenwala or Waqas Commando), a 22-year old from Kakapora who had joined the group a year ago. Dar’s family had last seen him in March 2018, when he left his house on a bicycle one day and never returned. Pakistan denied any involvement and Jaish-e-Mohammed leader, Masood Azhar, roams free in that country.
It is the deadliest terror attack on India’s state security personnel in Kashmir since 1989.
Initial investigations suggested the car was carrying more than 300 kilograms (660lbs) of explosiveas, including 80 kilograms (180 lbs) of rcx, a high explosive, as well as ammonium nitrate.
State funerals of security personnel killed in the attack were held in there respective native places. The government of Punjap announed ex gratia compensation of 12 lakh ($17,000) each to the families of the killed security personnel from the state and a govenment job to the next of kin. India revoked Pakistan’s most favored nation status. The customs duty on all Pakistani goods imported to India were raised 200%. The government of India plans to provide the Finanical Action Task Force on Money Laundering with a dossier outlining Pakistan’s involvement n the attack.
On 17 February 2019, the administration of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir revoked security provisions for separatist leaders following the 2019 Pulwama attack.
Following intelligence inputs, in the early moring hours of 18 February 2019, a joint team of 55 Rashtriya Rifles, CRPF, and Special Operations Groups of India killed two terrorists and two terrorist abettors in an anti-terrorism encounter operation in the ensuing manhunt for the perpetrators in Pulwama. One of them, Abdul Rasheed, Ghazi alias Kamran was indentified as a Pakistani national who is considered to be the mastrmind of the attack and a commander of the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed. Another local JeM recruit Hilal Ahmed along with two sympathizers who housed Ghazi and Ahmed in their homes to evade capture were also shot dead in the encounter. Four Indian servicemen lost their lives in the gunfight and were martyred, namely Maj. V.S. Dhoundiyal, Hav. Sheo Ram, Sep. Ajah Kumar, and Sep. Hari Singh.
Following the attack, there were several reports of Kashiris across India being trargeted by mobs seeking revenge. Two Kashmiri students were beaten in Dehradun. Kashir police chief Dilbah singh said they have “Taken up the issue with the sates where the incidents have taken place to ensure that students are not touched.” Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah met with Rajnath Singh seeking assistance.
Sources: India Today.in and Wikipedia “2019 Pulwama Attack”