THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 15 FEBRUARY, 2019
Attack in “sanitised” area
SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has blamed “security lapses” for the deadly Valentine Day suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in the restive south Kashmir that claimed the lives of at least 43 paramilitary troopers and injured dozens more. But the attack underlines that militancy in Kashmir, despite the claims by security forces and the ruling party, is far from over.
Speaking with various media outlets, Governor Malik said there were intelligence inputs from the last two weeks that militants were going to carry out a “massive attack” on security forces.
“We broke the back of militancy in Kashmir in past three to four months. Every other day, two to three militants were killed. This had increased the desperation of militants and there were inputs of a massive attack. There has been some security lapse because the car laden with explosive was allowed to move along with the convoy of CRPF. We will investigate,” he said.
However, the attack has sent shockwaves through the security establishment and also underlines the fact that ‘new age militancy’, which was at its lowest ebb in Kashmir due to the sweeping crackdown by security forces under ‘Operation All-Out’, is far from over, and that the militants can strike at the time and place of their choosing.
With J&K Police starting investigations into the case, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Governor Malik are likely to arrive in Srinagar today to take stock of the security situation in the Valley in the aftermath of the suicide bombing, the second such attack in nearly three-decade old Kashmir insurgency.
The first such attack took place in 2000 when a British born militant affiliated with Jaish attempted to drive an explosive laden car into the highly garrisoned Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar, which hosts the headquarter of the Army’s strategic 15 Corps. At least five soldiers and three civilians were killed in the attack.
“The Pulwama attack shows that militants, despite suffering massive setback in past couple of years, have the organisational capabilities and human resources to strike at security forces. How the 350 kg explosive was arranged and how it was put together as a car bomb is a matter of investigation,” a senior J&K Police officer said.
A statement by National Investigations Agency said it will “assist” the J&K police in forensic examination of the scene of the blast on Srinagar-Jammu highway, barely some kilometres away from a paramilitary training centre that was attacked by a Jaish fidayeen last year, killing five troopers.
(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR)