SRINAGAR: At least 20 Central Reserve Police Force jawans were killed and many others injured in a blast in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. The blast was triggered by militants to target two vehicles carrying the CRPF jawans. The blast ripped through one of the buses the jawans were travelling in. The death toll is likely to go up.
A Jaish-e-Mohammed militant rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the bus they were travelling in, news agency PTI reported quoting officials. The vehicle belonged to 54 battalion of the CRPF. The IED blast reduced the bus to a mangled heap of iron and body parts could be seen strewn around the area, the agency reported.
“There were 70 vehicles in the convoy and one of the vehicles came under attack. The convoy was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar,” said CRPF (Operations) IG Zulfiqar Hassan adding that the Jammu and Kashmir police have taken over the investigation into the attack.
“There were 2500 personnel in the convoy,” news agency ANI quoted CRPF DG RR Bhatnagar as saying on Pulwama attack.
Militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad claimed responsibility for the blast and said it was a fidayeen attack carried out by a local youth. Police identified the militant as Adil Ahmad from Kakapora in Pulwama. He joined the Jaish-Mohammed in 2018.
According to ANI, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to CRPF’s Bhatnagar over Pulwama attack to take stock of the situation.
Reacting to the incident, Congress president Rahul Gandhi termed it a “cowardly attack”. Gandhi wrote on Twitter, “I’m deeply disturbed by the cowardly attack on a #CRPF convoy in J&K in which 10 of our brave men have been martyred and many others wounded. My condolences to the families of our martyrs. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.”
The news agency, quoting Jammu and Kashmir Raj Bhawan PRO, reported that Governor Satyapal Malik blamed the Pulwama attack on forces “from across the border.”
“Forces responsible for the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir are desperate and frustrated and just want to prove their presence. Visibly it seems to be guided from across border as Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility,” Mallik said, according to ANI.
The incident took place at Lethpora, about 30 km from Srinagar on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. Jammu and Kashmir police spokesperson has confirmed that it was an improvised explosive device (IED) blast.The explosion was followed by gunshots aimed at the security forces in Pulwama district of the state.