Pulwama Martyrs: Gone, But Not Forgotten | What has changed in one year?

Agencies. Updated: 2/14/2020 11:14:57 AM Front Page

JAMMU: On this day last year, in what was the most deadliest acts of Kashmir militancy prolonged over 30 years, a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber rammed his SUV carrying explosives into a bus carrying Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Pulwama district, resulting into martyrdom of 40 bravehearts.

As the nation marks the first anniversary of the attack on Friday paying rich tribute to martyrs, a lot has changed in J&K, and particularly in India’s way of handling Pakistan-sponsored terrorism here. These changes introduced to the world India’s new face, one that was not willing to bear burnt due to its terror-harbouring neigbhour.

The year, full of significant developments, saw a lot many changes—from unprecedented escalation of military conflict between two nations to the emergence of Wing Commander Abhinandan as a ‘war hero’. Of course the mastermind of terror attack was eliminated within a month, with record number of top militant commanders meeting the same fate, hitting the militancy like never before. Even on the other side of the border, there were remarkable shift, most recent being 11 year jail term sentenced to JeM chief Hafiz Saeed for financing terror.

However, most significant was the shift in India’s policy towards Pakistan.

The attack last year left the nation in shock and the retaliatory move saw India striking a militant training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot, 12 days later, when a group of Mirage 2000 Indian Air Force fighter jets took down major JeM terrorist camps on the other side of the line of control.

February 26 was the day when India hinted at a shift in how it would tackle Pakistan in the days to come.

The official statement read out by then foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale had noted that India’s action was a ‘pre-emptive strike’ which had became absolutely necessary.

In the past, India had time and again provided Pakistan with the information on dozens of such terrorist training camps running there, only to be met with disappointed as the neighbour not only denied, but further shielded the terror lords on its land. India’s policy of putting international pressure on Pakistan had not yielded much result either.

However, what India asserted with Balakote strike was clear and bold: If Pakistan fails to act against terrorism, India will do so. It made it known to world that India was no longer willing to bear the costs—lives of its citizens- of Pakistan doing nothing to eliminate terror on its land.

A lot has changed, after Pulwama attack. As we remember the martyrs today, it is to be noted and emphasised to the world over that the terrorism from Pakistan is the initiation of any escalation between two countries, and not the Indian response to it.

Meanwhile, a memorial to the 40 CRPF personnel will be inaugurated at the Lethpora camp in Valley on Friday.

"It is a way to pay homage to the brave jawans who lost their lives in the attack," Additional Director General of CRPF Zulfiquar Hasan said on Thursday here after a visit to the site where the memorial has been erected.

The names of all the 40 personnel along with their pictures will be part of the memorial along with the moto of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) -- 'Seva and Nishtha' (Service and Loyalty).

"It definitely was an unfortunate incident and we have learnt our lessons now. We were always extra alert during our movement but now an extra layer of alertness has been added to it," Hasan told PTI here.

The supreme sacrifices of the 40 jawans has furthered increased "our resolve to eliminate enemies of the country".

"We fight with extra vigour during an encounter with terrorists and that is why we were able to eliminate the entire Jaish-e-Mohammed commanders immediately after the attack on our jawans," he said.

While he refused to spell out the precaution that is taken during troop movements in the aftermath of the February 14 attack, officials in the security establishment said the movement of troops is now done in coordination with other security forces and the army.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had also allowed the CRPF to carry its troops by air to avoid the possibility of any such attack.

The Jammu and Kashmir government had imposed a ban on plying of private vehicles on two days in a week to facilitate movement of troops. The order was later rescinded after the situation became normal.

The process of bullet-proofing of vehicles carrying the troops was expedited and more and more bunker-type vehicles were seen on roads carrying the jawans.

The memorial has been set up inside a CRPF camp adjacent to the place where Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Adeel Ahmed Dar, driving an explosive-laden car, blew himself next to a convoy of security forces killing the 40 personnel.

Almost all the conspirators behind the dastardly attack have since been killed with the last one being Qari Yasir, the self-styled chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group, who was killed last month.

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