After terrorists killed 40 paramilitary personnel in a car bomb attack on their convoy in Awantipora in Pulwama district on Thursday, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik admitted that security forces failed to act on intelligence inputs.
“There was no intelligence failure because we had received inputs (of a possible attack). But there was surely some kind of negligence. If the terrorists could bring such a big vehicle without being checked, it had to be because of failure on our part,” he told NDTV.
Mr Malik, however, gave an assurance of swift and befitting retaliation. “We will respond to this act of terror with our full might, and none of the individuals behind this incident will be spared. We will erase every trace of terrorism from this state,” he promised.
A suicide bomber had used a Mahindra Scorpiocarrying more than 350 kg of explosives to target a convoy of 78 vehicles transporting 2,500 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel on the Srinagar-Jammu highway earlier in the day. The stretch on which the incident occurred had been sanitised earlier in the morning, and authorities termed the incident as a “serious breach” of security. This was the worst terror attack to take place in Kashmir since the start of the century.
The Governor maintained that the terrorists had targeted the security personnel in a state of frustration. “The terrorists have become frustrated because of the government’s successes against them. Today’s operation was based on the same pattern they employ in Afghanistan,” Mr Malik said. “Not a single person has joined terrorist ranks in the last few months, and stone-pelting has stopped too.”
He said top officials of the Army, CRPF, Border Security Force and the state police will meet in the next two or three days to review security arrangements in view of the terrorist attack. “This incident should come as an eye-opener for those who always speak in support of terrorists, go to their homes and mourn at their funerals,” Mr Malik said, in an apparent jab at Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti’s visit to a killed terrorist’s residence in South Kashmir last month. “Just check out the statements made by political leaders in the last 15 days. They are accusing us of communalism, they are accusing us of playing with fire and whatnot.”
Official sources said that the attack was carried out by one Adil Ahmad Dar alias “Waqas Commando”. A resident of Kakapora, he had joined Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed last year.