Union Minister Shekhawat was the first to tweet on the attacks from the government’s side. Opposition leaders Congress president Rahul Gandhi and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal tweeted saluting the armed forces.
On February 14, 40 CRPF jawans were killed in the worst-ever terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir. The attack took place after a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden Maruti Eeco into a bus carrying CRPF personnel from Jammu to Srinagar. Terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility for the attack. The NIA is currently investigating the attack.
Reacting strongly to the Pulwama attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said those who committed the heinous act will pay “a heavy price”. “Those who did the heinous act will have to pay a heavy price. Those who supported it will definitely be punishment. To all my colleagues, in ruling and Opposition, it’s a sensitive time. We need to speak in one voice because this battle is for us to win. “We will face this together. We will not let those forces who want to destroy us be successful. We will not leave the dreams of those who died for us yesterday unfulfilled. If our neighbour thinks it can destabilise India, then it is making a big mistake,” PM Modi had said.
On February 25, announcing a major breakthrough in the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said that it had identified the owner of the vehicle that was used by the attacker who has been claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed to be its recruit Adil Ahmed Dar.
The NIA said Monday that the Maruti Eeco car was last sold on February 4, just 10 days before the attack, to one Sajjad Bhat, a resident of Bijbehara in Anantnag, who is now absconding and is suspected to have joined Jaish.
Interestingly, on Monday evening, PTI reported quoting Pakistan Army spokesperson Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor as saying that Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa met Air chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and the two chiefs deliberated on operational environment including threat and response. "Both chiefs expressed satisfaction on readiness, coordination and synergy. Pakistan Armed Forces are fully prepared for a befitting response to any Indian aggression or misadventure," he added, PTI reported.
India's earlier surgical strike following Uri attack
On the intervening night of September 28-29, 2016, Indian Army carried out surgical strikes against terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), just eleven days after the Uri attack which had claimed the lives of 18 BSF soldiers. The army launched the attack targeting Pakistani terrorists positioned across the Line of Control. The then DGMO, Lt General Ranbir Singh, had announced on September 29 that India had conducted surgical strikes on terror pads along the LoC using ground forces and inflicted “significant casualties”.
On October 7, 2016, The Indian Express had reported graphic accounts provided by eyewitnesses living across the LoC of the surgical strikes, describing how bodies of those killed before dawn on September 29 were loaded onto trucks for secret burials. The eyewitnesses also described brief but intense fire engagements that destroyed makeshift buildings that housed terrorists, before they left for the last stage of their journeys across the LoC.
The surgical strikes were the first time the political leadership owned trans-LoC operations and marked a huge shift in the sanctity of the LoC as a de-facto international boundary. During the 1999 Kargil War, when the LoC had been respected as a not-to-be-crossed red line by the previous NDA government even though the Pakistan army had openly breached it.