At least 44 Indian paramilitary police personnel were killed and many others injured when their convoy targeted with a vehicle bomb at Awantipora in Indian controlled Kashmir's Pulwama district on Thursday (today), in what is the worst attack ever on security personnel in the state.
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.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it a "dastardly attack", adding that the "sacrifices of the courageous soldiers will not go in vain". This terror attack is considered to be one of the worst terror attacks to have taken place since the Uri military base camp attack in 2016. Given the number of militants associated with Jaish-e-Mohammad, how an attack of this magnitude was carried out has baffled the security agencies.
"The attack in Pulwama in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir is a matter of grave concern".
The blast occurred in a 10th grade classroom in a school in the southern Kakapora area, said senior police officer S.P. Pani.
Later Thursday, thousands of people, chanting slogans such as "Brother Adil: your blood will bring revolution" and "Go India, go back", marched to the militant's village in solidarity. In October 2001, three militants of the JeM carried out an attack on the J&K legislative assembly complex in Srinagar, ramming an explosive-laden Tata Sumo into the main gate killing 41 people including themselves. Our homage to the 18 fearless hearts who made the supreme sacrifice & condolences to their family.
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As the entire nation stands in solidarity with the families of the martyrs, the cricket fraternity was not far behind.
Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed responsibility for the attack, Reuters news agency said.
India blamed Pakistan, but it denied any involvement.
The incident is likely to raise tensions with neighboring Pakistan, as the two nuclear-armed nations continue to battle over sovereignty of the divided Muslim-majority Kashmir region. My prayers for the injured & condolences to the families of the bereaved.
This terror group is led by the global terrorist Masood Azhar, who has been given full freedom by the Pakistani government to operate and expand his terror infrastructure in territories under Pakistan's control and to carry out attacks in India and elsewhere with impunity, the MEA said. "We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations", reports quoted Pakistan Foreign Office as saying.
In a tweet, he said our forces will remain firm against such acts of terror and defeat them.