PULWAMA STRIKE ON CRPF MEN RESULT OF VIOLATING PROCEDURE

Kushal Jeena

The precious lives of forty two personnel of Central Reserve Force could have been saved had the central government and state of Jammu and Kashmir had gone for air-transit or fleets of bullet proof buses.

The attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama in Kashmir happened last week was due to failure of security agencies and the union home ministry as intelligence inputs had sounded the the government that Jaish-e-Mohammed, a home-grown terror outfit is planning a major offensive against the security forces. Moreover, the union home ministry under which CRPF comes had turned down the demand of the para-military force about an air transit and bullet proof buses on ground of cost-cutting.

“Let me make it clear at the outset that Kashmiris in general have nothing to do with the Pulwama attack. The failure of Kashmir is collective failure of the country. To put the blame on Kashmiris alone is lying to ourselves. The attack in Pulwama is due to the failure of security agencies, as the attacker was under the radar of J&K police, said a former CRPF officials

The Jammu & Kashmir police had warned the security agencies few days back that Adil Ahmed Dar, a local resident of Pulwama had been on the radar of local police since he started working for the terror outfit and was among those who were part of the early stone-throwers in the Valley.

He was highly radicalized and joined JeM while he was a student.

On February 14 a special utility vehicle laden with sophisticated explosive rammed into a CRPF convoy in Pulwama. The blast that took place after the accident killed 42 security personnel. The convoy comprised over 2,500 CRPF personnel was travelling in 78 vehicles.

Many questions still remain unanswered about the procurement of a huge amount of explosives and a car by terrorists.

The government and particularly the home ministry could be asked as to how and why a dreaded terror outfit like JeM was allowed to plan such an elaborate terrorist attack on a high security convey despite security agencies having intelligence information about execution of such an attack.

Why it was overlooked and why concerned officers did not act timely?

Since the state of Jammu and Kashmir is now under the rule of the central government after President rule was imposed, it is home ministry who is directly responsible for intelligence failure.

“Kashmiries living in Jammu and Indian main land are bearing brunt of this failure. Time is not for revenge but for soul searching and accountability for whoever failed in discharging their responsibilities.

Another key question that remains to be answered is who allowed such a big number of CRPF personnel to travel in a convoy from one place to other in tense border state of Jammu and Kashmir despite government and top officials of the security agency knowing that such a big movement could have the potential of becoming an easy target of terror attack.

The terrorist triggered car bomb while the convoy of 70 CRPF vehicles was plying through Srinagar-Jammu highway. The CRPF bus under target was carrying 39 personnel on board. The bus bore the brunt of the explosion and the shrapnel wreaked havoc. The stretch on which the incident occurred was largely believed to be sanitized of terror activities.

“THIS IS A NEW MODUS OPERANDI, WE HAVE TO STUDY HOW THIS ATTACK WAS CARRIED OUT AND WHETHER ALL STEPS WERE FOLLOWED IN THE CASE, SAID R R BHATNAGAR, THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF CRPF AFTER THE INCIDENT.”

A HOME MINISTRY INTERNAL REPORT POINTS OUT THAT BEFORE OCCUPYING YOUR PLACE OF DEPLOYMENT; PLEASE SANITIZE THE AREA, AS THERE ARE INPUTS OF USE OF IEDS.

“THE TREND IS ALARMING. WE HAVE SEEN THIS IN 1996 AND 1998 WHEN SUCH MODUS OPERANDI WAS SEEN, BUT THE AMOUNT OF EXPLOSIVE WAS NOT SO HIGH AT THAT TIME, SAID POLICE IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR.”

The reports suggested that resident of Kakapora, Dar had joined the terror outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind in February this year. But, he soon left the terror group to join JeM. Soon after the attack, JeM also released a recorded video message of the suicide bomber.

In the 44-second video, the suicide bomber is seen sitting in front of a bunch of AK 47 magazines and holding an AK 47 rifle, reciting Islamic poetry and exhorting the people to stand up, asking them to join Jaish-e-Mohammed.

In a rare display of solidarity with the security forces the political class of India cutting across the party lines came forward and extended their full support to the government in an all party meeting held in the aftermath of terror attack where the government briefed the political parties on the terror attack.

“In my fairly lengthy experience of donning the uniform, I have not heard of a security force worth its salt and having supposed “expertise” and years of experience of operating in such conditions, move troops in such utterly clumsy manner. It is beyond comprehension as to how such elementary mistakes are allowed by those responsible to supervise them in an area which is notorious for frequent attacks and where they have suffered heavy causalities in the past. An organization which fails to learn from its past mistake is condemned to fail again and again, “said a senior official of a top Indian security agency.

The violation of standard operating procedures when such a huge movement of central forces is taking place in the troubled state cannot be ruled out. The recent attack of CRPF convey in Pulwama looks like a clear picture on loopholes. It will be known only after a thorough probe.

Such a large movement of troops must have been known to a lot of people.

There is a possibility of this information reaching to terrorists. Moreover, the number of personnel travelling back to the Valley was high as
there was no movement on the highway for the last two to three days because of bad weather and other administrative reasons.

The home ministry has asked experts in the elite National Investigation Agency to assist Jammu and Kashmir police in the investigation of the attack. All
aspects of the attack will be probed by the concerned agencies, the ministry said.

Earlier, whenever a large number of security personnel were being shifted from one location to another in every sensitive area, the movement of any other vehicle including the government was not allowed to ply.

However, after a BJP-PDP government headed by Mehbooba Mufti came to power in Jammu and Kashmir, the decision to disallow any vehicle other than of the security personnel during redeploying was reversed citing grounds that it effects the movement of people.

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