While Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik had earlier blamed an “intelligence failure” for the February 14 Pulwama attack that killed 40 CRPF men, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday denied the same in Parliament.
In a written reply in to a question on “whether the reason for Pulwama attack was intelligence failure”, Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy denied in Rajya Sabha that there was any intelligence failure. “No” was Reddy’s reply to Congress MP Syed Nasir Hussain’s question.
In an interview to The Indian Express on February 15, Governor Malik had said that the Pulwama attack was partly the result of an intelligence failure, especially as security forces could not detect the loading and movement of the explosives-laden Scorpio.
“We cannot accept that (intelligence failure). We could not detect or check the vehicle full of explosives moving on the highway. We must accept that we are also at fault,” Malik had said.
He had admitted that while security forces were “eliminating” local militants, including those belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammad, there was no warning or intelligence input about any of them being trained to become a “suicide bomber”.
Malik had said, “The fact that we did not know that there was a fidayeen among them is also part of the intelligence failure. I can admit that. This man (the bomber identified as Adil Ahmad Dar) was very much on our list of suspects. But due to the pressure they were under, no one was giving them shelter in their homes. So he must have escaped to the jungles or the hills and got lost. We knew about him but could not trace him. This was just a chance thing and he was the rare one who got away. The rest have been getting killed.”
In his question in Parliament, Nasir had also asked if there was no intelligence failure, how had the bomber car joined the highway from a slip road carrying around 300 kg of explosives.
To this, Reddy said, “Jammu and Kashmir is affected by terrorism sponsored and supported from across the border for the last three decades. However, owing to the policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism and sustained action against terrorists by the security forces, a large number of terrorists have been neutralised in the past few years. All agencies are working in a coordinated manner and the intelligence inputs are shared among various agencies on real time basis. The investigation by NIA into the Pulwama attack so far, has resulted in identifying the conspirators, suicide attacker and the vehicle provider.”