What happened in Pulwama last year on the same day?

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Constable Sukhjinder Singh of Punjab regiment told his family members that he would call in the evening. “But the call we received was about his death”, recollects the 27-year-old wife Sarabjit Kaur tightly holding her 8-month old son.

The story is the same with the family members of Head Constable Naseer Ahmed of Jammu and Kashmir, Constable Jaimal Singh of Punjab, Constable Rohitash Lamba from Rajasthan, Constable Tilak Raj from Himachal Pradesh and the list goes on. And what is common with them is, they were among those 40 CRPF Constables martyred on the same day – February 14, 2019, when a convoy of vehicles carrying them on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber at Lethpora in the Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir, killing them on the spot.

It may be recalled around 3:00 pm on this day last year when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist rammed a vehicle carrying explosives into the CPRF convoy on Srinagar-Jammu national highway killing around 40 CRPF personnel.

The vehicle hit was the part of the convoy consisting of 78 buses, in which around 2500 CRPF personnel were travelling from Jammu to Srinagar. Tension gripped India-Pakistan as the nationwide protests erupted against the dastardly terror attack. Leaders across the party lines and civil society condemned the attack and called for a ‘fitting’ response.

United Nations and countries across the globe condemned the attack and extended their support to India in the fight against terrorism. Even the arch-rival China had to bow down to the international pressure.

Around 12 days after the terror attack, Indian Air Force jets bombed the JeM camp in Balakot, in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa destroying a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action.

A day later on February 27, IAF foiled an attempt by PAF to strike at military installations in Jammu and Kashmir. In retaliation, the IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman piloting a MiG-21 Bison aircraft was caught in POK as POW after his aircraft was shot down by PAF. However, owing to the international pressure, Pakistan had released Abhinandan later.

MaaHyderabad pays its tearful homage to the departed souls who laid down their lives in service of the nation.