Nearly 40 jawans were killed and several others wounded when an explosive-laden SUV rammed into a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bus at Awantipora town in J&K’s Pulwama district on Thursday evening, in what is the worst attack ever on security personnel in the state. Reports suggested that the vehicle used by the terrorists was a Mahindra Scorpio carrying more than 350 kg of explosives.

The CRPF bus was part of a 70-vehicle convoy passing through the Gundipoora section of the Srinagar-Jammu Highway when it was attacked. Each vehicle was carrying 35-40 CRPF jawans. The convoy had started from Jammu around 3.30 am and was supposed to reach Srinagar before sunset, officials said

The powerful explosion, was heard many kilometres away which reduced the bus to a mangled heap of iron. The explosion was also heard in some parts of Srinagar adjoining Pulwama district.The bus that was hit had 39 personnel. Bullet marks on the bus indicated that more terrorists may have fired at the convoy from hiding after the explosion. Jaish identified the suicide bomber as Adil Ahmad Dar who is a part of a Pakistan-based terrorist organisation proscribed by the UN and other countries, and even released a video of him brandishing rifles. Dar is from Pulwama’sKakapora and had joined the terror group in 2018.

India slammed Pakistan over the Pulwama terror attack and asked the neighbouring country to stop supporting terrorists and dismantle terror infrastructure operating from its soil. India also strongly reiterated its appeal to all members of the international community to support the proposal to list terrorists, including JeM chief Masood Azhar, as a designated terrorist under the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, and to ban terrorist organisations operating from territories controlled by Pakistan. Meanwhile Pakistan said the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district is “a matter of grave concern” even as it strongly rejected Indian media and government’s allegations of the country’s link to the strike “without” probe.

This attack has been the biggest terror attack in the past five years. However, data released by the Narendra Modi government on February 5, 2019 reveal that Jammu and Kashmir has been facing terror threats for the past five years. The data recently released by the Ministry of Home Affairs shows that between 2014 and 2018, there has been a 93 per rise in the number of security personnel killed in terrorist incidents in Jammu and Kashmir. Besides this, these five years also saw a 176 per cent rise in the number of terrorist incidents in the state.

However, since 2016, the number of terrorist incidents has seen an upward trend. For example, the number of terrorist incidents in Jammu & Kashmir rose by 54.8 per cent in 2016, six per cent (342 incidents) in 2017, and 79.53 per cent (614 incidents) in 2018. In fact, the year 2018 saw nearly 51 terrorist incidents every month. A rising trend was also observed in the number of people who were killed in terrorism-related activities in Jammu & Kashmir in these five years.

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