Pulwama terror attack: PM Modi chairs CCS meeting
With anger and outrage flying high in the country after Thursday's horrendous Pulwama terror attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting at 9:15 AM on Friday. The meeting was attended by NSA Ajit Doval, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, and Sushma Swaraj. Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who is back in India, was also part of the high-profile meeting.
A convoy of CRPF which had 70 buses was attacked on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on February 14. A Mahindra Scorpio, laced with nearly 350 kg of explosives, rammed into a bus. In the dastardly attack, 40 jawans lost their lives and nearly 50 were seriously injured. The toll is expected to rise. Terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed took responsibility for the "worst attack since Uri".
Soon higher authorities in the country swung to action. PM Modi spoke to Doval and Singh to take stock of the situation. Doval, who was closely involved with the surgical strikes post-Uri, is said to be in touch with senior CRPF officers. Meanwhile, Singh will visit Srinagar today. Apart from assessing the situation, he will also meet injured soldiers undergoing treatment.
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba who went to Thimpu in Bhutan on Thursday for the annual Secretary-level talks, cut his visit short and rushed back. Moreover, Anti-terror force National Security Guard (NSG) experts and National Investigation Agency (NIA) investigators will reach the blast site later in the day to aid in the probe. The attack was condemned by everyone across the country.
In a tweet, PM Modi assured the sacrifices of the soldiers "won't go in vain". His cabinet colleagues, however, took a slightly strong tone. Singh said the government will do all it takes to avenge this attack. Calling it an act of cowardice, Jaitley tweeted, "Terrorists will be given unforgettable lesson for their heinous act." Congress President Rahul Gandhi wrote he was "deeply disturbed".
The Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement condemning Pakistan in the choicest of words. The Sushma Swaraj led ministry said Pakistan gave "full freedom" to Masood Azhar, JeM's chief, which helped him carry out such attacks. MEA also urged the international community to designate Azhar as a designated terrorist, an attempt which has been thwarted by China at least twice in the past.
Countries including the US, Israel, Bangladesh, Nepal, Australia, Turkey, France, Russia, Germany, Canada, and Sri Lanka stood with India in the hour of grief. Leaders of all the countries condemned the attack and called for steps to be taken against terrorism. In a strongly worded statement, the US asked Pakistan to stop providing safe haven to terrorists, who want to sow chaos and violence.
In a statement late Thursday night, Pakistan said the attack was a matter of grave concern and it has always condemned violence. However, the "insinuations" that Pakistan was involved were wrong, the statement read. "We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations," added the statement.