On the first anniversary of Pulwama terror attack, which claimed the lives of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans, the paramilitary force paid homage to the victims by organising a "wreath-laying" ceremony at the Lethpora Camp in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday.
This is deemed as one of the deadliest attacks the country has witnessed on its security forces in decades. On 14 February last year, a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber at Lethpora in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. Forty CRPF personnel were killed in the attack.
As India marks the first anniversary of one of the worst attacks the country has seen, let's take a look some of the deadliest attacks on the security forces since 2010.
Pulwama attack - 14 February, 2019
Forty CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir were killed when the two buses they were travelling in became the target of a suicide bombing. The buses were part of a larger convoy of paramilitary vehicles travelling along the highway in south Kashmir's Pulwama district. This was the first suicide bombing to have been carried out in the past decade.
The Pakistan-based jihadist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed an SUV laden with 350 kilograms of explosives struck the middle of the convoy. The attack was condemned by unionist politicians in Jammu and Kashmir.
The JeM identified the suicide bomber as a local Kashmiri jihadist Adil Ahmad Dar, a resident of Gundibagh, Kakapora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Shortly after the attack, the JeM released a video statement by Dar claiming responsibility for the attack. In the video, Dar praised Kashmiris for their fighting spirit and stated that India has failed to suppress the Kashmiri people by force. He further cautioned the youth stating that “your enemy (India) is not only an enemy to your freedom and life but also your faith”.
Shortly after the attack, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) had released a video claiming responsibility for the attack. In the video, the suicide bomber identified himself as a local Kashmiri jihadist Adil Ahmad Dar, a resident of Gundibagh, Kakapora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
IED Blast, Gadchiroli - 1 May, 2019
At least 15 security personnel and a driver were killed in an IED blast in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra in May last year. The Naxals triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) to blow up a police vehicle, which was carrying 16 security personnel from the Kurkheda Quick Response Team of Gadchiroli police. The blast had taken place between Jamborkheda and Lendhari.
Sukma attack - 11 March, 2017
Twelve jawans of CRPF of the 219th battalion were killed and two were critically injured in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district after a group of the Naxals’ armed militia ambushed a road opening party (ROP) in the area’s Bheji village on 11 March 2017, just a month before the deadly attack in April which killed 25.
The incident occurred in the forest area near Kottacheru village under Bhejji police station, around 450 kilometres away from the state capital, where 112 personnel of CRPF's 219th battalion were out for a road opening task. The Bhejji area in south Bastar region of the state is notorious for Naxal attacks and many security personnel have been killed here in the past.
Sukma attack - 24 April, 2017
On April 24, 2017, 25 CRPF jawans were killed in an ambush by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district. The encounter with 74th battalion of CRPF occurred at Kala Pathar near Chintagufa in Sukma, the worst Maoist violence-affected district in south Bastar area of the state.
The Naxals laid an ambush on a patrolling party of the CRPF near Burkapal village which was supporting road construction work in the area when they were attacked. A team of 90 CRPF jawans were sanitising a road which is being built in the area when around a large group of around 300 naxals, divided into multiple groups, attacked the CRPF party. According to reports, the gunbattle lasted for an hour. The Naxals looted all arms and ammunition of the CRPF jawans
Pathankot airbase attack - 2 January, 2016
Heavily-armed terrorists had carried out a pre-dawn strike at the Air Force base in Punjab's Pathankot on 2 January 2016. Six terrorists, in army attire, had tried to storm the base located 35 kilometres from the international border. The terrorists were linked to Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) as is the case with the Uri attack.
Seven soldiers died, including Lt Col Niranjan, who was a member of NSG’s bomb disposal squad. He died while sanitising a terrorist's body during the attack. One commando of the Indian Air Force’s special Garud unit and two Defence Security Corps personnel also died during the attack.
The attack happened days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a surprise stopover in Lahore. With the intention of destroying fighter jets and attack helicopters housed there, up to six terrorists in army fatigues attempted to storm the base which is barely 35 kilometres from the international border with Pakistan but failed to go beyond the outer periphery.
Pampore attack - 24 June, 2016
On 25 June 2016, at least eight CRPF personnel were killed and 24 injured after Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists opened fire at a convoy belonging to the paramilitary force in Pampore on the outskirts of Srinagar near Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. The attack took place on the busy Srinagar-Jammu national highway when the security personnel were returning from a training exercise. However, later on, three more soldiers succumbed to their injuries. Two AK-47 rifles, ammunition and six hand grenades were recovered from the two terrorists who were shot dead, at the time of the attack when they tried to enter the buses.
Uri attack - 18 September, 2016
In one of the most deadly attacks on the army in recent years, 17 jawans were killed and 19 others injured as heavily armed militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the force in North Kashmir's Uri town early on Sunday. The death toll climbed to 18 as another soldier succumbed to his injuries one day after the attack. Four terrorists were killed by the Army in the ensuing encounter.
After the attack, the clamour for a surgical strike on Pakistan rose sharply, with even members of the ruling BJP urging India to "teach a lesson" to Pakistan. Senior party strategist Ram Madhav demanded "for one tooth, a complete jaw".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had come under immense pressure to live up to his 2014 election campaign rhetoric of showing Pakistan that India is not a "soft power" and would give a "befitting reply" to any attacks on the country. Special forces of the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes to destroy terror launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on 29 September, 2016.
Manipur militant ambush - 4 June, 2015
In one of the worst attacks on the Indian Army, insurgents had ambushed a military convoy in Manipur's Chandel district killing 15 army personnel and injuring 11 others on 4 June 2015. Army and civilian authorities suspected the involvement of Manipur rebel outfit Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), a Meitei revolutionary organisation, who used landmines, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons.
The area of attack is about 15-20 km away from the India-Myanmar border.
Chintagufa attack - 1 December, 2014
Fourteen CRPF personnel were killed and about a dozen wounded in an encounter with the Maoists near Chintagufa in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on 1 December, 2014.
Dantewada Maoist attack - 2 April, 2010
In 2010, India witnessed one of the deadliest attacks on its security forces in an ambush by Maoists near Chintalnar village in Dantewada district, Chhattisgarh. This attack claimed the lives of 76 CRPF policemen and eight Maoists and is considered as one of the deadliest attacks by the Maoists on security forces.
Post the attack, questions were raised on intelligence and tactical failures. It was reported that counter-ambush drills were not followed, CRPF personnel did not have adequate weapons and there was little ground intelligence.
With inputs from agencies