The death toll in the Pulwama terrorist attack has reached 44, making it one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. A convoy of around 2,500 CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) personnel was targeted by a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber, Adil Ahmad Dar. He was driving an SUV carrying around 200 kg IED explosives. The vehicle rammed into one of the buses carrying jawans, leaving several body parts strewn around the area.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the sacrifices of "our brave security personnel shall not go in vain", people across the country have demanded the strongest possible action against the dastardly terrorist attack.
Massive anti-Pakistan protests have rocked Jammu and Kashmir's winter capital. Demonstrations and candle light marches were held after the attack. Braving the rains, several people took to the streets in Jewel Chowk, Purani Mandi, Rehari, Janipur, Gandhinagar, Bakshi Nagar, Muthi, Talab Tilloo and Satwari and protested against the killings.
An NIA team with suitable forensic component will leave today for Kashmir to assist the Jammu and Kashmir Police in forensic evaluation of the spot. Mobile internet services have also been suspended in Jammu over security concerns.
"We strongly condemn today's attack in J&K's Pulwama. We express our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives & to the people & Govt of India. We wish a speedy recovery to injured & call for those behind the attack to be brought to justice," the United Nations said in a statement.
This was the first suicide car bomb attack in Kashmir since the 2001 strike on the Legislative Assembly in which 41 people, including three suicide attackers, were killed. The scene of Thursday's attack is not very far from the Commando Training Centre at Lethpora, which was stormed by Jaish militants on December 31, 2017, killing five CRPF personnel.
The Srinagar-Jammu national highway has been a favoured route for militants to target security forces. The CRPF bore the brunt of a militant attack at Pampore, less than seven km from Lethpora, in June 2016, losing eight jawans while 22 others sustained injuries. In an attack on the Uri military base in September 2016, Jaish militants killed 18 Army jawans and injured dozens of others. The ferocity of the attack led to India conducting a surgical strike against Pakistan.
With agency inputs