New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir has seen a steady increase in IED blasts and other bombing incidents over the last five years, with 2018 witnessing a 57 per cent jump in such incidents while two other major theatres of violence — LWE-hit areas and North East – saw the number of such incidents going down, a latest report has found.
While the state that shares border with both Pakistan and China saw a total of 37 incidents of bombing (improvised explosive device and explosive ordnance triggered) in 2014, these incidents grew to 46 in 2015, 69 in 2016, 70 in 2017 and as high as 117 during the last year. A report in this context was presented by the National Bomb Data Centre (NBDC) of the NSG during a two-day international conference in Delhi, that concluded recently, on the menace and threats posed by IEDs.
The NBDC of the elite ‘black cats’ commando force is the national repository of all IED and bombing incidents that take place in the country and the unit also conducts post-blast investigation of all such incidents, including the Pulwama blast case. The report made a special mention of J-K and the growing threat of IED and similar explosives in the state at a time when investigators suspect that the deadly attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama on February 14 was executed by a ‘lone wolf’ Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist by blowing off a 20-kg strong RDX mix explosive, laden in a car, next to a troop-carrier bus plying as part of a convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway.
“There was considerable decrease in IED blast incidents in all regions of the country except in J-K where terrorists resorted to increased use of IEDs during 2018,” the report accessed by PTI said. It added that while IED blast incidents reduced to 77 last year from 98 in 2017 in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) hit areas of the country, such incidents in J-K rose by 57 per cent from 21 in 2017 to 33 during last year. The IED blast incidents in the north east insurgency theatre reduced to 32 last year as compared to 66 in the year 2017, indicating a decrease of 52 per cent, the report accessed by the news agency said.
The report said while there was a “steep decrease” in the number of IED blast incidents in the country as a whole, fatalities due to these explosions increased “considerably” in all the violence theatres of J-K, LWE and North East. In 2017, while a total of 244 incidents of IED blasts took place in the country leading to 61 deaths, the last year witnessed only 174 such incidents but a higher number of deaths at 108.
While one death was recorded due to IED blast in J-K in 2017, the improvised explosives claimed 13 lives in the state that is reeling under terrorism for past many decades. “Terrorists in J-K, who were normally relying on explosive ordnance, also resorted to IEDs during 2018 as these devices offered them near total anonymity,” the report said. Explosive ordnance denotes shells and bombs of military grade. The report said fatal casualties in IED blast incidents increased considerably during the last year, as compared to 2017, in the LWE, north and J-K theatres and also the rest of India.
“The disgruntled and desperate insurgents, terrorists and CPI (Maoists), who had suffered setbacks in 2018, resorted to renewed IED attacks to avoid direct confrontation with the security forces. 55 people, including civilians were killed in LWE areas alone, which accounted for more than 50 per cent of the total fatalities that took place in the country in IED blast incidents,” the report said.
Of the 55 killed, fifteen were civilians which accounted for 27 per cent of total casualties which took place due to IED blast incidents in LWE areas, it said. J-K, as per the report, also witnessed a “rise” in non-fatal casualties in IED blast incidents as compared to the other two major combat theatres. Although there was a steep increase in number of fatalities in IED blast incidents in 2018 as compared to the previous year, the non-fatal casualties saw a reverse trend in the year 2018 recording a considerable decrease in number of non-fatal casualties in all regions of the country “except” J-K, it stated.
The report said that overall number of non-fatal casualties in 2018 is 33 per cent less than the number of non-fatal casualties recorded in 2017. The report said while in J-K security forces were the “prime target” of terrorists’ IEDs, all such devices– using a mix of metal shrapnels, RDX, TNT and incendiary chemicals– were largely made of “high grade explosives.”