India will observe the second anniversary of the deadly Pulwama attack, which claimed the lives of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, on Sunday.
The suicide attack was conducted by a 22-year-old Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Adil Ahmad Dar, along with the support of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The Pulwama attack was condemned across the world, including Pakistan’s ‘all-weather ally’ China that backed a UN resolution on the “heinous and cowardly” terror attack.
While people across India were grieving the loss of lives in the Pulwama attack, the tension between New Delhi and Islamabad flared up after intelligence agencies claimed that Pakistan’s ISI supported the militants to carry out the attack.
Following the intelligence agencies’ claim, Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a stern warning and said that those behind the dastardly attack will have to a “very heavy price”.
Then on February 26, the Indian Air Force conducted an air strike across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan’s Balakot and destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp. The attack, which India’s first air strike against Pakistan since 1971 war, was conducted by 12 Mirage 2000 and 10 Sukhio Su-30 MKIs fighter jets and reportedly killed 300 to 350 terrorists.
“In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated. This facility at Balakot was headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar, Chief of JeM,” the Indian government said in a statement.
The plan for the Balakot air strikes was laid out by the Indian Air Force, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Indian Army and intelligence agencies. The Indian agencies had identified several possible targets and selected Balakot’s Jaba top for the attacks.
The Balakot air strikes flared tensions between India and Pakistan as the Pakistani Air Force tried to attack military installations in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the Indian Air Force foiled Pakistan’s attempt to attack military installations.
Thanks to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the Indian Air Force also took down a PAF F-16. However, Wing Commander Varthaman’s MiG-21 Bison was shot down by a Pakistani Surface-to-Air missile (SAM) and he was captured later. Pakistan, however, was forced to release Wing Commander Varthaman on March 1 amid international pressure.
Four days later, Pakistan arrested 44 members of various groups, including the Jaish-e-Muhammad, and held them responsible for the Pulwama attack.
Below is the complete list of CRPF jawans who lost their lives in the attack:
- Head Constable Naseer Ahmad (Jammu and Kashmir)
- Head Constable Jaimal Singh (Punjab)
- Head Constable Vijay Soreng (Jharkhand)
- Head Constable Narayan Lal Gurjar (Rajasthan)
- Head Constable Hemraj Meena (Rajasthan)
- Head Constable PK Sahoo (Odisha)
- Head Constable Sanjay Rajput (Maharashtra)
- Head Constable Bablu Santra (West Bengal)
- Head Constable Awadhesh Kumar Yadav (Uttar Pradesh)
- Head Constable Maneswar Bsumatari (Assam)
- Head Constable Sanjay Kumar Sinha (Bihar)
- Head Constable Ram Vakeel (Uttar Pradesh)
- Constable Sukhjinder Singh (Punjab)
- Constable Rohitash Lamba (Rajasthan)
- Constable Tilak Raj (Himachal Pradesh)
- Constable Vasantha Kumar VV (Kerala)
- Constable Subramaniam G (Tamil Nadu)
- Constable Manoja Kumar Behera (Odisha)
- Constable GD Guru H (Karnataka)
- Constable Mahesh Kumar (Uttar Pradesh)
- Constable Pradeep Kumar (Uttar Pradesh)
- Constable Ramesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh)
- Constable Koushal Kumar Rawat (Uttar Pradesh)
- Constable Pradeep Singh (Uttar Pradesh)
- Constable Shyam Babu (Uttar Pradesh)
- Constable Ajit Kumar Azad (Uttar Pradesh)
- Constable Maninder Singh Attri (Punjab)
- Constable Ashvni Kumar Kaochi (Madhya Pradesh)
- Constable Rathod Nitin Shivaji (Maharashtra)
- Constable Bhagirath Singh (Rajasthan)
- Constable Virendra Singh (Uttarakhand)
- Constable Ratan Kumar Thakur (Bihar)
- Constable Pankaj Kumar Tripathi (Uttar Pradesh)
- Constable Jeet Ram (Rajasthan)
- Constable Amit Kumar (Uttar Pradesh)
- Constable Vijay Kr. Mourya (Uttar Pradesh)
- Constable Kulwinder Singh (Punjab)
- Constable Sudeep Biswas (West Bengal)
- Constable Sivachandran (Tamil Nadu)
- Assistant Sub Inspector Mohan Lal (Uttarakhand)