By Law Kumar Mishra*
The deadliest-ever attack on the security forces in Kashmir martyred 42 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on National Highway (NH) 44 (Jammu-Srinagar) near Awantipura, 20 kms from Srinagar on Thursday noon. Unprecedented, it was the act of a coward newly recruited militant from an adjoining village on the convoy of the CRPF.
Two dangerous trends from the attack. For the first time,a car (Scorpio) bomb was used by a human bomb, who drove the vehicle and rammed into the CRPF bus. It is suspected 350 kgs of RDX were stored in the Scorpio.


Secondly, for the first time, a home-made fidayeen (suicide bomber) acted as executor. Again,for the first time, the car bomb used on the NH as till now,army or security forces convoy had been attacked by grenades or destruction caused due to improvised explosive device (IED) explosions. The youth who is suspected to have acted as suicide bomber was recruited by the militant outfit-Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) last year.


The first fidayeen attack in Kashmir valley took place on November 3, 1999 at Badamibagh cantonment, which is headquarter of the 15 Corps. The militants had entered the heavily fortified cantonment and wiped out the entire PR wing, killing Major Pramod Purushottam and his entire team ,minutes after the GOC held a press conference. 
On August 13, 2000, a 250 kgs RDX loaded stolen Ambassador car was blown by militants through remote from Jhelum embankment. Fifteen police officers were killed when the car became air borne o a height of 80 feet near State Bank of India headquarters. One of the seriously wounded IPS officers is now in Bihar.Later, fidayeen attacks took place at Uri,Nagrota or Pathankot, but the attackers were from across the border.


Prime Minister,Narendra Modi immediately swung into action, called the National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval. The NIA which has some highly professional IPS officers of Jammu & Kashmir cadre too started its operation.


Home Minister Rajnath Singh summoned K Vijay Kumar, advisor to the Governor, and has been rushed to Pulwama cancelling his scheduled visit to Patna. Vijay Kumar had vast experience of working in Kashmir in the Border Security Force (BSF) as its DIG and IG also. He was appointed advisor in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to deal with operations in Naxalite affected states. He has distinction of eliminating dreaded sandal wood smuggler,Veerapan.


It appears, the standard road opening parties did not sanitise the highway before movement of convoy on NH, which reopened after week-long suspension of traffic due to snow fall. During my stay in Srinagar as the “Times of India” correspondent, I remember, no civilian vehicle was allowed to overtake an army or security forces vehicles and the former Governor of Bihar and MP, Mohammad Shafi Qureshi, also faced such restrictions in the Valley. 
Intelligence had sent reports ten days back apprehending fidayeen attacks and recruitments of locals by JEM. It appears the reports were not taken seriously. Negligence and lapses?

*Veteran journalist, who has worked as “The Times of India” correspondent in Srinagar. Source: Author’s Facebook