Dhaka Courier

Kashmir attack: Is India losing?

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Vehicles set on fire by protestors against the killing of 37 CRPF personnel in the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu Friday Feb. 15 2019. | PTI

It may be time for a rethink in Delhi.

Kashmir attack on February 14 has been on the forefront of news across the world.  A suicide bombing attack on a CRPF (Central Reserved Police Force, a paramilitary force) DF convoy in Pulwama region of Jammu and Kashmir killed 40 paramilitary troopers on February 14, 2019. Jaish-e-Mohammad, a terrorist group, had claimed responsibility for those killed in the deadliest terror attack witnessed in three decades of Kashmir's insurgency.

The surprise attack by a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber left the nation in shock and anger while Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave security forces a freehand to strike back with equal force.

On Thursday, Jaish bomber Adil Ahmed Dar, 20, rammed a SUV loaded with 350 kilograms of explosives into one of the buses -- carrying 35-40 troopers -- out of a 78-vehicle CRPF convoy. While 40 were killed in the attack, several injured personnel continue to battle for their lives.

The situation in Kashmir has been tense since 2014 and there have been several deadly attacks on soldiers. In the last five years, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a 93 per cent rise in death of security personnel. A chunk of these attacks have occurred in Pulwama region of J&K. Data released by the government showed that the Valley has been witnessing regular terror attacks in the past five years.

Even as the nation continues to bewail the death of soldiers killed in Kashmir, many including the grief-stricken family members of the ill-fated jawans have demanded strong action against the Pakistan-based terror outfit.

The heinous incident has united all political parties across the country while leaders from all over the world have condemned the dastardly attack; the United States even went on to the extent of warning Pakistan to not harbour terrorism.

Data released by the Ministry of Home Affairs showed there has been a sharp rise in terror activities including attacks between 2014 and 2018. It suggested that there has been a 176 per cent jump in terror attacks in the Valley during the period. The state witnessed over 1,700 terrorist activities (28/month) during the last five years, showed government data.

The data presented in Lok Sabha also show that there has been a sharp spike in terror activities since 2016. Between 2014 and 2018, a total of 1,315 people were killed in the state due to acts of terrorism, it revealed.

While several regions in the Valley have been affected by home-grown militants, the Pulwama district of Jammu & Kashmir has seen a high volume of terror encounters. However, 14th February attack that left 40 paramilitary troopers dead is the deadliest terror attack in the Valley in the last three decades of Kashmir's insurgency.

The terror attack occurred on February 14, 2019 when a 78-vehicle convoy was escorting over 2,500 jawans from Jammu to Srinagar. At around 3:30 pm, a Mahindra Scorpio SUV, packed with 350 kilograms of explosives rammed into one of the buses belonging to the convoy on the National Highway 44 at Lethipora near Avantipora town.

The surprise attack instantly blew up the bus, killing at least 40 personnel of the 76th Battalion while others continue to battle for their lives; the injured were immediately moved to the army base hospital in Srinagar.

The attack was carried out by 20-year-old Adil Ahmed Dar, who was due to appear for his class 12 exams before he went missing, according to his parents.  Reports indicate that while initial reports claimed that the attack was triggered by an IED explosion, it was later reported that Dar had rammed the explosive-laden SUV into one of the buses.

Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attack and released a video of Dar, a resident of Kakapora who joined the group a year ago.

A huge political outcry was observed in India after the terror attack. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only condemned the attack but also gave security forces full freedom to retaliate against the heinous attack that killed 40 paramilitary troopers.

All Indian leaders are shocked at the attack. Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who was visibly emotional at a press event said the entire Opposition stands in solidarity with the security forces and government. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also condemned the attack and said such acts of terrorism cannot be tolerated.

A host of other ministers including Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal condemned the cowardly terror strike on security forces as well.

Not just political parties but prominent personalities from the field of art, entertainment and sports condemned the attack and demanded redemption.

Over 45 countries including the US and China reacted to the dastardly attack on  jawans. The United States not only condemned the attack but also attacked Pakistan for harbouring terrorists. It warned the nation to deny safe haven to terrorists or any terror outfits.

Russian President Vladamir Putin sent condolences to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart India’s President Ram Nath Kovind.

France also condemned the attack and extended support to combat terror networks and cut their funding to prevent such cross-border attacks. While China expressed condolences and condemned the act of terror, support poured in from Australia, European Union, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bangladesh and a host of other countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the terror outfit has committed a huge mistake, adding that the sacrifice of the slain soldiers will not go in vain.  Modi said the security forces have been given a freehand to retaliate against the attack at any time they deem suitable.

Soon after a high-level Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley declared that India is withdrawing "Most Favoured Nation" status to Pakistan.

The symbolic move will further cut trade ties between the two neighbouring nations. India has also launched a diplomatic offensive against Pakistan after the terror attack.

According to reports, India held a briefing for envoys of 25 countries including permanent members of the UN Security Council such as  US, China, Russia, UK and France.

Before the briefing, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale summoned Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood to his office and issued a very strong diplomatic protest over the attack.

Barrister Harun ur Rashid, Former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva.

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