Year after, deadliest attack in Pulwama yet to find closure

Year after, deadliest attack in Pulwama yet to find closure

Arun Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jammu, February 13

The Pulwama terror attack of February 14 of last year has not found its closure as yet. The attack, listed as the deadliest strike against security forces in 30-year-long armed militancy in Kashmir, had left 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel dead.

A chilling reminder

  • The anniversary of the Pulwama attack on Friday, serves as a chilling reminder that the threat of the deadliest strike on forces in the past 30 years of the armed militancy in Kashmir is not over as yet.

  • The words of Lt-Gen KJS Dhillon, Commander of 15 Corps, whose troops traced and killed some of the main perpetrators of crime, echo time and again that the “attack was conducted by the JeM, the terror group that is the baby of Pakistan”.

Given the number of casualties and the audacity of the suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar, it stretched the boundaries of terrorism to an unparalleled scale. The government announced and executed unprecedented retaliation by bombing terror-training camps in Balakot in Pakistan. Internally, the massive anti-militancy operations were launched – more than 130 militants were killed. Nearly 50 soldiers also sacrificed their lives. Also, the government had placed unprecedented restrictions on the vehicular movement on highways to keep the soldiers safe from such attacks.

It should have delivered a successful conclusion of the worst-ever terror attack in Kashmir and brought itsclosure. It has not. One of the Jaish-e-Mohammad militants Qari Yasir, also involved in the attack was killed in an encounteron January 25, indicating that the group’s presence still dotted the landscapeof the Kashmir valley.

Post February 14, 2019, Pulwama attack, the operations had begun with the killing of Kamran, a Pakistani national, in a gun battle that lasted close to 20 hours on February 18-19 last year.

Stiff retaliation to the terror attack planned and executed by Pakistan-based terror group JeM had threatened a war-like situation in the region.

Pulwama had set off new calls for an effective anti-terrorism strategy that would deal with the terrorists on the ground, and at the same time take operations across the borders with the international approval. There also was a task to hit at the strategic assets of Pakistan-terrorist groups and their heads. JeM chief Azhar Masood, despite having been declared a global terrorist by the United Nations in May 1, last year, was not linked to the Pulwama attack. That was half-a-success in the Indian diplomacy. The success part was that China was made to drop its objections to the JeM chief getting branded as an international terrorist, but the absence to the link with Pulwama made it less than complete.

The anniversary of the Pulwama attack on Friday, serves as a chilling reminder that the threat of the deadliest attack on security forces in the past 30 years of the armed militancy in Kashmir is not over as yet.

As the events have dotted calendar in Kashmir, the words of Lt-Gen KJS Dhillon, Corps Commander of 15 corps, whose troops traced and killed some of the main perpetrators of crime, echo time and again thatthe “attack was conducted by the Jaish-e-Mohammad, the terror group that is the baby of Pakistan”.

The group, however, has not given up its plans to mount more terror attacks. “It is only the strict of our brave men that they have not succeeded in their plans,” said a police official.

In a way, it is also assumed that Delhi’s decision to do way with Article 370 was part of its strike against terrorism in Kashmir. This was seen as an important security legislation. It was argued that the special status granting Article 370 had worked in making Kashmir a fertile ground for the growth of terrorism, and also that it acted as a shield in taking action against the sources of terrorism. But the situation in Kashmir is under control only because of the heavy presence of terrorism. The psychological support for militancy is not over as yet. Things are open-ended even today.

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