A year after a militant killed 40 CRPF personnel in the Pulwama terror attack, there are growing concerns that the investigation into the attack, which is being conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), has hit a dead end.
Denying the allegations, CRPF Director General Jammu and Kashmir Zone Zulfiquar Hasan has said: “The investigation is being done by the National Investigation Agency. It is proceeding in the right direction. Conspirators of Pulwama Attack were neutralised few months after the incident. Some people who helped them have been arrested.”
But the NIA has not been able to trace the source of explosives used in the attack. While a forensic report said around 25 kg of plastic explosives were used, most of the crucial evidence was washed away due to heavy rains at the site of the attack.
The explosives could not have been purchased off the shelf as it was “warfare ammunition generally found in military stores, a senior government official was quoted as saying by the English news daily The Hindu.
Adil Ahmed Dar, a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist from the Pulwama district of Kashmir, was on a suicide mission when he rammed a vehicle into a CRPF bus on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on 14 February, 2019. JeM is a Pakistan-based terrorist outfit.
The two prime suspects – Mudasir Ahmed Khan and Sajjad Bhat – were killed in encounters with security forces in March and June 2019 respectively.
A government official linked to the case said that since the prime suspects were killed in operations, the exact details of the attack were difficult to discern.
The attack led to deterioration of relations between India and Pakistan. India blamed Pakistan for hosting Jaish-e-Mohammed, which claimed responsibility for the attack. The incident escalated to a full-fledged aerial clash on 27 February when an Indian MiG-21 Bison was shot down by the Pakistanis, while India claimed that it shot down a Pakistani F-16.