#PulwamaAttack: J&K Police gave inputs to CRPF on ‘use of IEDs’

CRPF says it will investigate into any concerns on a security lapse.

WrittenBy:Daanish Bin Nabi
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The killing of at least 49 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Pulwama yesterday has been called a major security lapse. On February 8, 2018, an official communique from the intelligence wing of the Jammu & Kashmir Police was sent to the DIG CRPF South Kashmir Operation Range (SKOR) Awantipora and DIG CRPF SKOR Anantnag. Titled “Extremely Urgent”, it read: “Before occupying your place of deployment please sanitize the area properly, as there are inputs of use of IEDs ( ) matter most urgent ( ).”

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The Pulwama attack took place six days later, on February 14. The communique has been accessed by Newslaundry.

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The February 8 communique.

CRPF spokesman Sanjay Sharma told Newslaundry the CRPF will follow standard protocol as far as the investigation is concerned. “There is a standard protocol. We will follow that. It will only get cleared after the proper investigation takes place. We would only come to know about the loopholes once the proper investigation is done.”

When asked about the total death toll of CRPF personnel, Sharma said: “The identification of the jawans is going on.”

An official said over 2,500 CRPF personnel, many of them returning from leave to rejoin duty in the Valley, were travelling in the convoy of 78 vehicles when a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a bus carrying CRPF men. Kashmir has seen a drastic rise in militant attacks in the last five years, accompanied by a 93 per cent rise in death of security personnel in these attacks.

The Jaish-e-Muhammad claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place near the Commando Training Centre at Lethpora, which, incidentally, had been stormed by JeM militants on December 31, 2017, in an attack which killed five CRPF personnel—indicating familiarity with the area.

The JeM “fidayeen” in Wednesday’s attack has been identified as Adil Husain Dar. Soon after the attack, Adil’s pre-recorded video message went viral. In the video, he says “today I got the chance of carrying a suicide attack for which I waited a year.” He said the attack was revenge for killing the nephew of JeM’s founder Masood Azhar, Talha, and Usman and their cadres killed in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.

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A video message recorded by Adil before the attack has gone viral.

Rising Kashmir reports that Adil was the son of Ghulam Hassan Dar from Gundibagh village in Pulwama district. On March 19, 2018, he went missing along with a cousin named Sameer Ahmad Dar. The report says: “A class 12th (sic) dropout, Adil was a mason before joining militant ranks. He was the middle child of his parents and soon after he went missing, the parents had on a video message appealed to him to return home.”

A high-security official associated with the anti-militancy operations told Newslaundry on condition of anonymity: “We had information about one terrorist coming from across the border who trained the boy and fabricated the IED.” He said Adil was trained in south Kashmir by the militants who had come from across the border. The officer also admitted that it’s likely that the explosives used in the attack were made in Kashmir.

Former chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti,  commented on the security lapse in the attack. She asked why 2,000 CRPF men were “allowed to travel in a convoy”, saying it “defied” common sense.

Former interlocutor for Jammu & Kashmir, Radha Kumar, squarely put the blame on the security apparatus of the state. Talking to Newslaundry, she said: “The two glaring issues that appear from this attack are: First, how was young Adil able to stockpile such a large amount of explosives? If they were smuggled from Pakistan, how and over what period of time, and how did it go undetected? Second, how did the road clearing party miss Adil’s car?”

Following the attack, the security apparatus in Jammu & Kashmir has been put on high alert along the Srinagar-Jammu highway at Awantipora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. A security official from the Jammu & Kashmir Police department told Newslaundry that the forces have been instructed to remain extra vigilant in view of the attack.

The attack received international condemnation as well. Ken Juster, the US ambassador to India, said the US “stands alongside India in confronting terror and defeating it”.

Amid calls across the country for another surgical strike attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday morning chaired a high-level meeting attended by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj have reportedly attended. Soon after the meeting, Rajnath Singh will reportedly leave for Jammu & Kashmir where he’ll meet the Unified Command. Heads of all military and para-military forces have been asked to be present.

Arun Jaitley also announced in a press interaction that India has withdrawn the “most favoured nation” status it had accorded to Pakistan. Pakistan, for its part, said today the attack was a “matter of grave concern”. It strongly rejected the Indian media and government’s allegations of the country’s link to the strike “without  probe”.

The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik termed the attack “regretful”. The JRL said: “People and leadership of Kashmir regret every killing that happens on its soil. As we witness killing of our loved ones our young, and shoulder their coffins each day we can feel and understand the pain and sense of loss that the family and friends of those who are killed go through.” It added that the “death dance” has to stop and there must be an “end to hostilities”.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the shutdown call given by the Jammu Chambers of Commerce and Industries today, the Internet has been snapped in the Jammu division of the state.

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