It was life as usual for forces on the Indian side of Kashmir’s border with Pakistan on February 14 2019. A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy had started from Jammu at 3.30 AM to reach Srinagar before sunset. At 3.20 pm, as the convoy reached Pulwama’s Awantipora area on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway, an explosives-laden SUV drew up to one of the buses of the convoy, blowing it up.The bus carried 40 CRPF jawans. All of them perished much to India’s and their families’ loss.
Soon enough, terror module jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) operating in Pakistan claimed responsibility for the gruesome attack. It named Adil Ahmad Dar, a 20-year old resident of Gundibagh village in Pulwama district of South Kashmir as the fidayeen who carried out the mayhem. Adil, who worked in a sawmill in his neighborhood left home on March 19, 2018, never to return. According to his father, Ghulam Hassan Dar, Adil dropped out of Class XII before he started to work at a local sawmill. His friend Sameer Ahmad, a post-graduate Geology student with the Kashmir University was also found missing with Adil. The latter’s family filed a man-missing case. But the search soon ended when his photograph holding an AK-47 with the code name ‘Waqas Commando’ was posted on social networking sites, confirming his enrolment with a terrorist organization. In a pre-recorded video message released by the JeM after the suicide attack, Adil was shown to say that he had joined its fidayeen squad.
According to his family, Adil was shot in the leg while taking part in protests that rocked the valley following the killing of Hizbul mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016. Even though Adil is the fidayeen who set off the explosives, the mastermind of the dastardly and audacious attack was a Pakistan-based JeM ‘commander’, Rasheed ghazi who entered Kashmir through Kupwara two months ago with a band of ten Pakistani terrorists. Agencies believe Rasheed is the IED expert who trained Adil. Rasheed was later shot dead in an encounter with security forces soon after the attack. Besides these two, the main conspirator, believed to be the brain behind the Pulwama attack was Mudasir Ahmad Khan, according to the CRPF. This tower operator, working for a mobile company for four years before joining militancy had fabricated the explosives and prepared the vehicle for the attack. He was also gunned down by the Indian forces subsequently.
While it is true that the Pulwama attack was the brainchild of the terrorist organization J-e-M operating from within Pakistan, and that the mastermind was Rasheed, a Pakistani terrorist, the fact that the person who actually volunteered to be the man Friday was Adil, who was very much an Indian, as was Mudasir. This stark reality cannot be brushed aside. That these ‘boys-next-door’ could be indoctrinated to murder their own countrymen is an uncomfortable reality that stares at every Indian. It is a fact that an audacious and destructive murder as the Pulwama attack could successfully be carried out only with the connivance of local mainland accomplices. It would surely have required the participation and coordination of broader network of indoctrinated people to cold-bloodedly murder their own countrymen within their own country, exemplified by the fact that the Maruti Eeco vehicle that was stuffed with IEDs, which killed 40 CRPF men was registered in Kashmir eight years ago, and that it was being used by the group with the knowledge of its owner, who has been missing since the attack. The Indians’ hand-in-glove involvement wouldn’t surely have come cheaply. It would have involved a larger number of people, who would have been compensated handsomely too, through substantial money or kind in the form of drugs, flesh and other ‘gifts’ that are not cheap in international markets, proving once again that one of Prime minister Modi’s purposes of demonetization- that of strangulating free flow of money to finance cross-border terrorism had failed badly.
India has been at the receiving end of territorial violation by Pakistan-reared terrorists, each one resulting in loss of innocent lives viz; 2016 Uri attack by JeM operatives, 2016 attack on the Indian Air force’s Western Air Command at Pathankot, the 2008 Le-t led Mumbai attack, infamously called ‘26/11 attack’, 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament carried out jointly by the J-e-M and L-e-T. A country incessantly being wounded in this manner had her patience run out. Pulwama attack had to be repaid. Popular sentiment and compulsions of a general election round the corner demanded an eye-for-an-eye response by India, which had turned the other cheek far too often, that she seemed a ‘rabbit’ before terrorism before the world arena. India struck two weeks after the Pulwama madness. In pre-dawn hours on February 19 2019, 12 Mirage 2000 jets of the Indian Air Force dropped 1,000 kg of laser-guided bombs on terror camps of the J-e-M, L-e-T and Hizbul Mujahideen. The ‘surgical strike’ lasting 19 minutes was ‘100 percent successful and ‘went exactly to plans’, according to the Indian government. ‘India struck the biggest camp of J-e-M in Balakot’, the Foreign Secretary, Vijay Gokhale claimed in a brief statement. This ‘revenge’ by a nation that had run out of patience, couldn’t have been sweeter. It was hailed and justified by every Indian, political party and well-meaning nations.
Has the Indian foray into Pakistan rendered Indo-Pak border less porous? Will Pulwama be the last of the gory chapters of the kind by striking back by violating another nation’s territorial integrity? The answer is NO. India must clean her own stables. She must track down and annihilate those in the mainland who sympathize with the cause of ‘antiIndianism’ being nurtured across her borders. Every suspicious Indian must be kept a tab on. A surgical strike is warranted against such traitors within Indian borders than dangerous forays across them.