Home Minister Rajnath Singh today made a strong push for putting the safety of security forces on the highest priority while they are carrying out big anti-terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir. A seemingly unobtrusive car laden with 60 kg of RDX had overtaken a long line of CRPF vehicles from the left before it exploded on Jammu-Srinagar highway yesterday, killing over 40 personnel of the central force.
The Home Minister said that from now on, there will be restrictions in movement of civilians for some time whenever the security forces carry out a big operation. "We took this decision after the suicide attack on the CRPF convoy yesterday," Mr Singh told reporters in Srinagar today.
"Stopping civilian movement temporarily during big operation may inconvenience some civilians for some time and I would like to apologise for it," Mr Singh said. "I appeal to everyone to maintain peace and calm. Anyone who tries to disturb peace will be met with strong action."
A curfew was imposed in parts of Jammu city on Friday after mobs attacked some people and burnt vehicles following the terror attack in Pulwama. Over a dozen people have been injured in mob attacks, sources said.
The Home Minister was briefing reporters after returning from Budgam, 30 km from Srinagar, where along with Jammu and Kashmir top police officer Dilbagh Singh, he carried the coffin of a CRPF soldier who died in the car bombing yesterday. The bodies were taken by a truck to Srinagar, from where they were flown to Delhi.
Though Mr Singh praised the people of Jammu of Kashmir who he said have stood united against terrorism and during difficult times, he also had a word of warning against "some elements" who have links with terrorist groups across the border and Pakistan's spy agency ISI. "There are elements in Kashmir who receive money from Pakistan and the ISI. I have told the state authorities to review the security of those elements who receive money from them," Mr Singh said.
Adil Ahmad Dar, a terrorist of the Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammed, had overtaken the long line of the Central Reserve Police Force trucks on the Jammu-Srinagar highway in Pulwama before he detonated a "shaped charge" of the high-explosive RDX. The terrorist was a school dropout who stayed just 10 km from the blast site.
"Some sections of the people who are involved in terrorism are not only playing with the future of Jammu and Kashmir, but also with the lives of the youth of the state," Mr Singh said.
India has lodged a strong protest against Pakistan and has asked the international community to increase pressure on the country where Masood Azhar, chief of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, is roaming freely.