File Name: pulawama attack and aftermath .zip
India has long accused Pakistan of abetting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and has vowed to exact revenge after the suicide bombing in Pulwama on February
The suicide attack that killed more than 40 Indian soldiers in February was carried out by a young Kashmiri from Pulwama. Ahead of voting in the region in India's general election, Sameer Yasir reports on the rise in youth militancy over the past two years. Around local time GMT on 14 February, Adil Ahmad Dar drove a vehicle packed with explosives into a convoy of 78 buses carrying Indian paramilitary police in Pulwama, on the heavily guarded Srinagar-Jammu highway.
It shocked the country, as newspapers and TV screens were filled with stories of soldiers and their shattered families. Some had just returned from a visit home; others had called a family member hours before the attack; a few were speaking to them on the phone when the explosives went off. Adil Ahmad Dar was identified hours later, when the Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, released a video online saying it had carried out the attack.
In the video, Dar appears to show no remorse for what he is going to do. He said he joined the group in and was eventually "assigned" the task of carrying out the attack in Pulwama. As tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan rose in the aftermath of the attack and Kashmir remained on edge, more details about Dar emerged.
His story was disturbingly familiar. He grew up in Indian-administered Kashmir in Pulwama district where the attack occurred. Pulwama is part of the Anantnag constituency - the only seat in the Indian election that is voting over three different phases for security reasons, the last being on 6 May. Dar was a high school dropout and had been doing odd jobs as a mason when his parents reported him missing in March last year.
He was 22, and, by all accounts, shy and quiet. His family say his anger against the Indian state grew after he was injured while participating in a protest against the killing of a popular militant in There has been an armed rebellion against Indian rule in Muslim-majority Kashmir since India blames Pakistan for fomenting violence in the region by supporting militancy - a charge Pakistan denies.
Since , Kashmir has been convulsed by regular episodes of violence that have killed more than 70, people, including many Kashmiri Hindus targeted by militants in the early s.
Critics say India's heavy-handed tactics have alienated local youths. A UN report on violence in the region between June and April pointed to excessive force used by Indian security personnel, including the firing of pellet guns that have blinded hundreds. India rejected the report and its findings. Mr Bhat says the Kashmir he remembers from before is a "dream" this generation has been denied. Militancy in the valley had declined by the s but grew again after the killing of young militant leader, Burhan Wani, in And it has been on the rise since - saw the deaths of suspected militants and more than died in , according to official figures.
Wani was extremely active on social media. India considered him a terrorist but for many locals he represented a new Kashmiri generation. When he was killed in a gun battle with Indian security forces, protests engulfed the valley. Dozens were killed and hundreds injured as security forces fired live rounds and tear gas at protesters.
Many were also blinded by pellets. Adil Ahmad Dar, who took part in the protests, was shot in the leg and bedridden for 11 months. He, like other locals, believes many of the boys and men who protested at Wani's killing joined the insurgency. Adil Ahmad Dar spent more time praying and reading on the internet while recovering than mingling with his friends.
He ran away from home to join the militants in March The family found out about his involvement in the attack when his uncle, Abdul Rashid Dar, received a call from police. He says he was horrified to learn that his nephew - under the alias Waqas Commando - was behind the attack.
One said Dar had hardly talked to anyone after his cousin, Manzoor, a suspected militant, was killed in June Others speak of his frustration with the political situation in Kashmir. The support extended to the family is unsurprising given that many Kashmiris resent Indian security forces and accuse them of human rights violations.
In the past few years, funerals of militants in south Kashmir have drawn large crowds. Jibran Ahmad, a Pulwama resident, says: "You become a militant in a police station or an army camp, not inside the four corners of your house. Perhaps they thought it was better than being humiliated every day. Some of the men joining the militants recently have been highly educated and come from financially stable families. A federal minister told India's parliament in December that at least 26 of these new militants in were graduates and he referred to them as "misguided youth".
Sushant Sareen, a senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, an independent think tank, says part of the problem is that violence is "glorified". In Kashmir, however, there is social sanction - a certain amount of 'coolness'," he says.
He adds: "When stone pelting is happening, should the government hunker down and do nothing? When people pick up arms, should they do nothing?
One policeman based in Kashmir who wished to remain anonymous says India's approach has not worked. He said he did not want to be identified because he feared being rebuked by his superiors for speaking publicly about such a sensitive issue.
Political outreach is important but in recent years we have focused on killing militants," he says. Author and counter-terrorism expert Ajai Sahni says India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has demonised the valley and "created an enemy for the entire country" which may be a "successful election strategy but is disastrous for national security". In the days after Pulwama, sporadic incidents of harassment and violence were reported against Kashmiris in some north Indian cities.
My son has started hating India and Indians. He was not like that earlier," he says. India will 'completely isolate' Pakistan. Why India and Pakistan fight over Kashmir. Viewpoint: How far might India go to 'punish' Pakistan? It was a devastating attack - the worst carried out against Indian forces in decades. He said that by the time the video was released he would be in jannat heaven. Dar was one of thousands of Kashmiris who were born, and later died, in the shadow of the gun.
Some in the family's village, Gundibagh, react similarly. Read more on Kashmir by Sameer Yasir. The funerals driving Indian Kashmir youth to militancy Injured baby refuels India Kashmir pellet gun debate Tortured and killed: Kashmir's vulnerable policemen The Kashmiri art bringing Hindus and Muslims together. Why the death of militant Burhan Wani has Kashmiris up in arms Why did see more violence in Indian-administered Kashmir?
No army ever wants to fire on unarmed civilians, he says. Tariq Hameed's son returned home after being beaten up by a mob in Dehradun. Ghulam Hassan Dar says he does not want any child to follow his son's path.
Related Topics. Kashmir India Asia Pulwama attack. More on this story. Published 15 February Published 8 August Published 18 February
On February 14, a convoy of vehicles transporting Indian security forces from Jammu to Srinagar was attacked by a suicide bomber driving a vehicle rigged with explosives, killing at least 40 Central Reserve Police Force Reserve CRPF personnel. Jaish-e-Mohammad JeM , an Islamist terrorist organization based in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, the Pakistani establishment is concerned that India may be thinking of responding to the attack with militarily. The Pulwama attack, like past military crises, started with a triggering event of terrorism. However, it is gradually turning into a serious strangulation of Pakistan, which makes it different from previous stand-offs. The widely-held perceptions in Pakistan about the Pulwama attack are two-fold.
Beyond seeing levels of escalation not seen on the Subcontinent in decades, it also underscored the evolving role of the United States in crisis mediation and de-escalation. This policy memo examines what the changes in the role of third-party mediation mean for crisis escalation on the Subcontinent, and what policymakers in India, Pakistan, and the United States can do to be better prepared in the event of a future crisis. India and Pakistan have witnessed multiple crises since their overt nuclearization in Although the two countries fought three major wars before their respective nuclear tests, the presence of nuclear weapons made post crises more dangerous and drew global attention to de-escalation. After failing to stop nuclear weapons development by India and Pakistan, the United States became more concerned with ensuring that no nuclear exchange take place between the two rival countries. Since the Kargil crisis, the United States has become the de-facto crisis manager in South Asia — possessing leverage over the primary parties, the necessary means and intelligence to anticipate the developing situation, and the political clout necessary to pressure both countries to de-escalate.
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