Pulwama attack anniversary: LG pays tributes to bravehearts; says `nation will always remain indebted’

Jammu, Feb 14: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Wednesday paid tributes to the 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel who lost their lives in a terror attack in Pulwama district on this day in 2019.

The CRPF personnel were killed when a Pakistan-linked suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into the CRPF convoy.

In a retaliatory attack, the Indian Air Force targeted terror camps in Balakot, Pakistan.

“Humble tributes to the bravehearts who sacrificed their lives in the 2019 Pulwama terror attack. The nation will forever remain indebted to their exemplary courage, supreme sacrifice, and selfless service to the motherland,” Sinha wrote on X.

Security forces, including the CRPF, political and social groups, and various other organizations have planned separate functions to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the attack.

It may be recalled that on this day in 2019, a Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorist rammed an explosives-laden car into a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at Lethpora, a village in Pulwama, on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.

Jaish later released the video of Adil Ahmad Dar from Gundibagh village in Pulwama who had rammed his vehicle into the convoy.

Dar was a sawmill worker who was recruited directly to the Jaish’s ‘fidayeen’ (suicide) squad. On March 19, 2018, Dar left home for work but did not return. His friend Sameer Ahmad Dar, then a postgraduate student of Geology at Kashmir University, also went missing.

Exactly 14 days later on February 28, 2019, the Indian Air Force crossed into the Pakistani airspace and bombed an alleged Jaish-e-Muhammad training centre in Balakot.

The case was handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Several people were subsequently arrested, and a voluminous 13,800-page chargesheet was filed before a special court in Jammu in August 2020.

Pakistan-based leadership of the Jaish — including Masood Azhar, Rouf Asgar, and Ammar Alvi — were named as accused, along with nine local suspects, seven of whom were from Pulwama.

Four Pakistani terrorists, including the alleged mastermind Umar Farooq, were subsequently killed. Six local suspects, including a woman named Insha Jan, were arrested.

The breakthrough in the investigation came after a gunfight on the outskirts of Srinagar on March 29, 2019. Following a technical input, the J&K Police raided a house at Nowgam in the city suburbs. Two Pakistani terrorists, Umar Farooq and Kamran, were killed in the ensuing gunfight.

Umar was a nephew of Jaish chief Masood Azhar. Kamran was an IED expert. The police recovered a partially destroyed Samsung S-9 Galaxy phone from Umar. The phone did not appear to have much in it and was initially kept at the police station in Nowgam.

Later, the police sent the phone to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) for a technical analysis. CERT-In recovered a large number of photos and videos that had been shot by Umar and then deleted. This was the first clue. (with agency inputs)

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