Remembering Pulwama: The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group claimed responsibility for the attack. (Photo Credit: IANS)
Remembering Pulwama: India on Friday pays tribute to over 40 CRPF personnel who were killed last year on this day in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district that also left many critically wounded. The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group claimed responsibility for the attack that took place about 20 km from Srinagar.
More than 2,500 Central Reserve Police Force personnel, many of them returning from leave to rejoin duty in the Valley, were travelling in the convoy of 78 vehicles when they were ambushed on the Srinagar-Jammu highway at Latoomode in Awantipora in south Kashmir around 3.15 pm.
Police later identified the suicide bomber as Adil Ahmed, who officials said joined the Jaish in 2018.
He was driving a vehicle packed with tonnes of explosives on the wrong side of the road and hit the bus, in which 39-44 personnel were travelling.
The powerful explosion, which reduced the bus to a mangled heap of iron, was heard many kilometres away, including in some parts of Srinagar adjoining Pulwama district. Body parts could be seen strewn around the area.
The bus that was the focus of the attack belonged to the 76th battalion of the force. Over 20 people were also injured in the terror attack, which reduced the bus to a mangled heap of iron. Several other buses were damaged in the attack.
The convoy started from Jammu around 3.30 am and was supposed to reach Srinagar before sunset.
The number of personnel travelling back to the Valley was high as there was no movement on the highway for the last two to three days because of bad weather and other administrative reasons. Usually, about 1,000 personnel are part of a convoy but this time it was a total of 2,547 personnel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spoke to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and top officials after the attack, termed it despicable and asserted that the sacrifices of security personnel will not go in vain.