Pulwama attack: Allowing civilian vehicles on route proved disastrous


NEW DELHI: CRPF had taken all precautions on Thursday, including sanitisation of the convoy’s route on Jammu-Srinagar highway for IEDs by road opening party (RoP) and deploying men on the lookout for any possible grenade-lobbing or firing by terrorists, but allowing civilian vehicles to use the stretch during such movements proved disastrous.

Senior CRPF officials told TOI that JeM suicide bomber Aadil Ahmad used the liberty provided to civilians to drive his explosive-laden vehicle from the service road connecting local villages to the highway and and ram it into one of the CRPF buses.

CRPF was moving 2,547 jawans/officers in two convoys moving close to each other from Jammu to South Kashmir in 78 vehicles.

Officials said the highway was closed for six days due to which troopers, who had returned to Jammu from from leave and training, were unable to reach their camps and hence Thursday’s convoy was bigger than usual.

Sources said every precaution was taken considering there were regular intelligence inputs about possible IED attacks, with the latest input shared by the J&K police on February 8.

CRPF inspector general (operations) in Kashmir Zulfiqar Hassan told TOI, “The RoP was in place. It had checked the route in the morning. There was no IED and there was no possibility somebody could have fired upon or lobbed grenades on the convoy. It seems, as of now, the car came from the side road to the highway and rammed into the convoy, but it’s subject to investigation.”

Admitting they were caught by surprise despite taking precautions, another official said “it was a completely different modus operandi” used by terrorists .

He said the force will now change strategy, which may include keeping the highway stretch out of bounds for civilian traffic till convoys pass through.

A NIA team will visit the blast site on Friday to collect forensic evidence as preliminary analysis suggests JeM may have used over 300 kg of explosives.


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