As the nation continues to grief the loss of 49 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel martyred in the terror attack and also to express solidarity with their families of those Jawans, the agony found a bit of relief as the Indian Army on February 19, 2019 said that all the top leadership of the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) outfit have been eliminated by security forces in the Kashmir Valley within 100 hours of the terror attack.
In the joint Press Conference of The Army, State Police and the Central Reserve Police Force at the Badamibagh Cantonment Headquarters of army’s 15 corps, Lieutenant General, K.J.S. Dhillion, commander of the Chinar Corps announced that in less than 100 hours of the February 14 attack by a suicide bomber that left 49 CRPF troopers dead in Pulwama district, the biggest crackdown of the security forces ringed a militant hideout in Pinglena village, just 10 km from the terror attack site, triggering a gun battle on February 17 overnight that continued intermittently till next evening, have eliminated the top leadership of the JeM that was being directly handled by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistan Army.
They killed three militants of the Pakistan-backed JeM, two of them Pakistani nationals identified as Kamran and Abdul Rashid alias Ghazi Umar. Besides, a Major, three soldiers and a civilian were also killed in the initial burst of gunfire by the militants. This was the result of complete synergy between the Army, state police and the CRPF.
The crackdown kept in top priority in ensuring that no civilian life was lost, and there was no restriction on movement of civilian traffic. The restrictions on civilian traffic during movement of convoys of security forces are in place now.
The top army officer also said that the details about the terror strike and the breakthrough made in identifying everybody involved in the plot cannot be shared with the media right now as investigations were still in progress.
One thing is sure that such synergy between the Army and Para-military forces have led to the success of the operation within 100 hours. It may be interpreted that such coordination, which on various conferences and meeting have stressed on sharing of information for counter-insurgency, should be taken as the model for all similar actions in future.
The prolonged unrest in the valley of Kashmir is also the example of the Red-tapeism amongst the Bureaucratic powers and the para-military forces, and not to talk about the Politicking propaganda only to retain power. Just because the State Police and Army were not given enough free hand to tackle the armed militants, it does not mean that the Intelligence is weak. The February 17 joint operation only affirms that the state police and the district administration is well aware of the whereabouts of the armed militants; all it requires is Political Will to act.
It is the same apathy in all the states across the nation, as the political parties, bureaucracy and the state Police will be staying in the same state after retirement, hence they do not want to come under the bad-books of any outfits. This has led to the mushrooming of armed struggle without any hindrances. All the states should adopt the synergy of February 17 encounter after the Pulwama attacks to eradicate insurgency activities in respective state.
Meanwhile, the civilians are taking out candle light march to show their solidarity. And in Bollywood, Pakistani singer Atif Aslam could be the first casualty as he is expected to be removed from Salman Khan’s Notebook and Barat. There is mounting demand to blacklist all the Pakistani artistes, as the All India Cine Workers’ Association (AICWA) is calling for a ban on them.
A video clip went viral on internet as the young widow of Major Vibhuti Singh Dhoundiyal, who was killed in the Feb 18 Pulwama encounter, was given a tearful farewell, at the same time the pride of the villagers in his Hometown- Dehrandun were evident as they all came out in large numbers to bid farewell to the brave heart. What hit the emotional farewell was his young wife whispering to the mortal remains of Major Dhoundiyal – I love you.
All such actions only show that Indians will not be bow down to any intrusion and inflected wounds, as long as such brave widows of the martyrs keep motivating the nation to be united, while the para-military and the Army stand steadfast in guarding Mother India.