On this same day last year, a suicide bomber attacked a CRPF convoy near Pulwama, in which 44 paramilitary personnel lost their lives, leaving the nation reeling in shock. In order to help the surviving families of the Pulwama martyrs, various companies deployed CSR funds to support their families while civilians came forward with contributions.
However, an entire year after the attack, we aren’t any close to justice for Pulwama martyrs. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has not been able to trace the source of high grade explosives used by the car-borne suicide bomber. A senior government official said in a press briefing that the explosives could not have been purchased off the shelf as it was “warfare ammunition generally found in military stores.”
Two main suspects who could have the answers–Mudasir Ahmed Khan and Sajjad Bhat–were killed in an encounter with security forces last year in March and June respectively. There are many unanswered questions as all the perpetrators who could have helped in piecing together the investigation were killed in encounters. “The car used in the attack had changed hands several times. The last person to own the vehicle— Sajjad Bhat—went on to join Jaish hours before he could be caught. He was later killed in an encounter,” a senior army official told The Hindu.
Ironically, Additional Director General of CRPF, Zulfiquar Hasan, told PTI that the “supreme sacrifices of the 40 jawans has furthered increased our resolve to eliminate enemies of the country.” He was visiting Lethpora camp where a memorial for the Pulwama martyrs was inaugurated today. The names of all the 40 personnel along with their pictures is part of the memorial along with the motto of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) – ‘Seva and Nishtha’ (Service and Loyalty).
In another token gesture, Real estate developer Motia Group dedicated their event, National Great Icon Award, to the Pulwama martyrs. On the occasion, 88 personalities and social activists were honoured at a glittering ceremony held at a hotel in Zirakpur, Punjab, earlier this month.
Celebrity chief guests included Bollywood actor Raza Murad, Mrs. Universe 2019 Amita Panda, Punjabi singers Satinder Bugga and Satwinder Bitti, Punjabi director and producer Darshan Aulakh. As you celebrate Valentine’s Day today, spend a minute in silence for the Pulwama martyrs who lost their lives on this very same day.