In one of the deadliest attacks by militants on security forces in Kashmir, at least 41 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed when a suicide bomber rammed his car, laden with explosives, into the CRPF convoy on the Srinagar-Jammu highway on Thursday.
Militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the attack that also left many troopers injured.
While CRPF officials have been tight-lipped about the attack, a senior police official from south Kashmir said that at least 41 jawans were killed. “Many more jawans are injured, some of them serious. We are collecting the details,” the official said.
According to the wire,
“The number of casualties is expected to rise,” another police official said, adding that the injured were evacuated to the Indian Army’s 92-Base Hospital at Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar. According to the official, more than 20 injured CRPF troopers were being treated at the army hospital.
A CRPF convoy was on its way to Srinagar from Jammu when an SUV laden with explosives rammed into the bus carrying jawans at around 3:20 pm, near Lethpora in Pulwama. “Two buses carrying the troopers were the target,” the police official said.
The explosion reduced the bus to a mangled heap of iron and initial pictures of the spot, uploaded on social media, showed body parts strewn around the area. According to some media reports, the car was laden with 350 kg of explosives when it hit the CRPF bus.
This is believed to be the deadliest attack on security forces since the eruption of militancy in the state, in terms of a number of causalities. The CRPF is likely to come up with a detailed statement about the attack later at night. The J&K police confirmed 33 casualties in a statement.
The fidayeen attack was the first of its kind in the Valley, involving mostly Kashmiri militants, who succeeded in storming a security camp. All the three attackers, including a 16-year-old fidayee from Tral town in Pulwama, were killed in the subsequent gunfight.
The last time a suicide bomb attack was carried out by militants was in 2000 when Kashmiri militant Afaq Ahmad Shah blew himself up at the entrance gate of the army’s 15-corps headquarter at Badamibagh in the summer capital, using an explosives-laden car.
Today’s attack evoked strong condemnation from all political parties. “Attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama is despicable. I strongly condemn this dastardly attack. The sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain,” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While Union home minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit Kashmir on Friday, J&K governor Satya Pal Malik has ordered the immediate enhancement of surveillance and review of security management of all important installations and establishments in the state.
We at Netive are very shocked by the attack in #Pulwama. We all do believe Hate is NEVER the answer! Strength to the families of the martyred jawans and the CRPF soldiers injured in the attack. We are with India in these dark times.