Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar has written about the attack on the Sunjuwan military station in Jammu on February 10, in the latest issue of the outfit’s online mouthpiece, saying, “Only three mujahideen destroyed the Sunjuwan military camp. For three days, they withstood thousands of troops, special squads, helicopters and tanks. Entire India from head to toe panicked.”
In another article in the issue, a Jaish leader says the attack was launched by “the Afzal Guru squad” of Jaish.
Azhar wrote about the attack in his weekly column ‘Rang-u-Noor’, under his pen name Saidi, in the February 14 edition of Al Qalam. Though he didn’t take responsibility for the attack, he wrote that “the attack by these three fidayeens has carried forward the legacy of Khalid Bin Waleed” — in a reference to the legendary military commander of the era during the advent of Islam.
The attack was carried out at the military station by three militants in the wee hours of February 10, leaving five soldiers and a relative of a soldier dead. All the three militants, whom the Army identified as Pakistan nationals belonging to the JeM, were later gunned down.
“Fighting and defeating big armies with few men is truly one of the colours of the jihadi legacy of Khalid Bin Waleed,’’ Azhar wrote. “When I heard the details of the attack on the Sunjuwan military camp by Kashmiri mujahideen, I remembered Khalid Bin Waleed. Imagine, despite such a huge strength of the enemy, three mujahideen entered a military camp and fought for more than 50 hours, targeting the enemy posts. Is it any ordinary thing? There were miracles taking place. The Kashmiri leadership was saying that the number of mujaideen is only three. Next day India claimed that three mujahideen have been martyred, but the sounds of explosions and firing were still coming from within the camp. With the help of media, the entire world was watching this miracle. If all the three were already martyred, who were fighting then? Whose fear made them take tanks inside the camp? Why were they (the Indian Army) blowing up their own buildings? India should reflect on this attack and they will understand that defeat is their destiny.”
In another article in the same issue of Al Qalam, Jaish leader Talha Saif also wrote about the Sunjuwan attack, saying, “February 9 is the martyrdom anniversary of our great comrade and victimised brother Afzal Guru. On February 10, one of the founders of Kashmir movement Maqbool Bhat was martyred. The graves of both of them are inside that Indian jail (Tihar). And it was February 11 when India arrested our leader (Masood Azhar) from Anantnag. Keeping in view these three incidents, the Sunjuwan army camp became the target of revenge attacks launched by the Afzal Guru squad (of Jaish).”
Saif claimed that the militants had taken hostages inside the Army camp and that the Army had to use tanks to fight the three. He also claimed that the militants had written slogans on the walls of the station, which the Army had later painted over. He wrote that the graph of militant movement in Kashmir was rising fast and that local militants were becoming “fidayeens” for the first time.
He referred to “the allocation of funding and other emergency measures for enhancing the security of the Sunjuwan camp” as a sign of the success of the attack.
The militants had been able to carry out the attack on the Sunjuwan military station despite a red alert across the state, and despite a warning by security agencies that Jaish’s Afzal Guru squad may strike on the fifth anniversary of his hanging.
A senior police officer had told The Indian Express two days before the attack that “assessment” by multiple agencies indicated a possible strike by the terror group around Guru’s anniversary.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who had visited the Sunjuwan station on February 12, had named the JeM and warned Pakistan that “it would pay for the misadventure”. Referring to “the demography of the cantonment and adjoining areas”, she had indicated the possibility of local support to the attack.