In one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in India, banned Pakistani terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) on Thursday killed at least 45 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Awantipora, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The attack took place after a suicide bomber in a car loaded with 350 kilograms of explosives rammed into a convoy carrying over 2500 CRPF troops on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway.
Who was the bomber?
The bomber, who has been identified as Adil Ahmad Dar, goes by various aliases – from ‘Adil Ahmad Gaadi Takranewala’ to ‘Waqas Commando of Gundibagh’. He was a 22-year-old local from Pulwama’s Kakapora area who dropped out of school after class 12 in 2017. The terrorist lived barely 10 kilometres from the attack site.
Just minutes after he carried out the attack, JeM released a video that was shot before Dar set out on the savagery where he is seen brandishing rifles, grenades, and magazines and speaking about the atrocities faced by the people of Kashmir, especially Muslims.
What is Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)?
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is a Pakistan-based banned terror outfit. The Jaish-e-Mohammed which literally means “The Army of Muhammad”, is led by Masood Azhar. Masood Azhar is the founder and leader of the UN-designated terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed. Most Jaish-e-Mohammed attacks have been described as fidayeen (suicide terrorist) attacks.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is a relatively new terrorist outfit when compared to other major outfits active in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). It was launched on January 31, 2000, by Maulana Masood Azhar in Karachi after he was released from an Indian jail during the terrorists-for-hostages swap of December 31, 1999, following the hijacking of the Indian Airlines Flight IC 814 to Kandahar.
Who is Masood Azhar?
Masood Azhar is the founder and leader of the UN-designated terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, active mainly in Pakistan administered Kashmir. Maulana Masood Azhar was born in 1968 in Bahawalpur, in the central Pakistani province of Punjab. Azhar studied at the Jamia Uloom ul Islamia Banuri Town in Karachi, where he became involved with Harkat-ul-Ansar. India had listed Masood Azhar as one of its most wanted terrorists due to his history of militant activities. India arrested Masood Azhar in 1994 and imprisoned him for his terrorist activities.
JeM’s involvement in other terrorist activities:
- After Masood Azhar was arrested, in 1995 six foreign tourists were kidnapped in Jammu and Kashmir. The group of kidnappers demanded the release of Masood Azhar. One of the hostages, a Norwegian was killed, one escaped and the remaining are missing but feared dead. The tourists were trekking in Kashmir’s Pahalgam district when they were captured.
- Masood Azhar was released in 1999 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in return for the 155 Indian Airlines passengers who were held hostage in Afghanistan.
- The JeM also claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001 that killed nine people.
- In January 2016, Jaish-e-Mohammed carried out a terror strike on India Air Force’s (IAF) Pathankot airbase, killing seven personnel.
- In September 2016, the Masood Azhar-led outfit carried out another attack on an Indian Army base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri, killing 19 soldiers in what was the deadliest attacks on Kashmir till then.