For the first time in the decades-old militancy in Kashmir Valley, security forces have been targeted by a Naxal-style IED attack prompting agencies to brace up against the menace that has claimed numerous lives and maimed several troops in Left Wing Extremism hit areas. Taking the development seriously, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), mainstay for anti-Maoist operations in the country, has rushed a team of its counter-Improvised Explosive Device (IED) experts to train and sensitise its troops, those of the BSF, Jammu and Kashmir Police and others against such blasts trigerred by the notorious ‘command-wire’ technique.
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“This is for the first time…There have been IED attacks against security forces and their convoys in the past but using the command-wire technique was unheard and unseen here.
“This technique till now has been used by Naxals to target security forces in the LWE affected areas,” CRPF Director General K Durga Prasad told PTI. Taking cognisance of the incident, he has asked a team of IED experts, based at the exclusive Institute of IED Management (IIM) in Pune, to rush to the Kashmir Valley and sensitise the troops as to how to be alert against such deadly attacks.
The first of its kind command-wire IED blast was reported about a month back on the night of November 4 when militants targeted a police bullet-proof ‘Rakshak’ jeep under the Dadasara Police Station area in Awantipora of Pulwama district, which led to injuries to three police officials.
The police team was rushing to a nearby spot after some gunshots were heard but as they were targeted by the blast, they had to be evacuated and rushed to a nearby hospital.
The blast was trigerred by joining the wires drawn from the IED and when the jeep, plying on the normal ‘pucca’ road, went over it, the blast severely damaged the entire front and engine portion of the four-wheeler.
“It could have been bad had the blast took place just behind the engine area.This is something new we witnessed. Taking no chances, we have asked all our units in the Kashmir Valley to prepare and plan against command-wire IEDs now,” Prasad said.
The DG said it was part of further investigations to find out how the suspected militants active in Kashmir adopted this much-abused technique of trigerring hidden blasts on security forces and their convoys.
Till now security forces in the valley have been attacked in gunfire ambushes and attacks, grenade lobbing and fidayeen attackers.
A command-wire ID blasts ensure that the electric cable connected to the IED allows the user complete control over the bomb right up until the moment of initiation and Naxals have been found to lay several hundred metres of wire from the main road into the fields to trigger it without getting noticed and ensuring fatal casualities on the trapped men, by virtue of accurate timing of its detonation.
The command-wire IED blasts in Naxal violence affected areas has not only claimed lives of hundreds of security forces personnel, largely amongst the CRPF, even as it has severely maimed numerous troops rendering them without limbs.