The Centre on Saturday issued an advisory to states and union territories asking them to ensure the safety of Kashmiris after several reports claimed they were being harassed in some parts of the country following the terror attack on security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, which left 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force dead.
Earlier in the day, the central government had called an all-party meeting to discuss the terror attack, and passed a resolution condemning the act.
India had on Friday hit back at Pakistan for claiming it had no role in the Pulwama attack, which was carried out by the Jaish-e-Mohammed. The terror outfit’s links to Pakistan were evident for all to see, said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
8.30 pm: The customs duty on goods from Pakistan raised to 200%, ANI reports. India had on Friday revoked the “Most Favoured Nation” status accorded to Pakistan with immediate effect in the aftermath of the terror attack.
7.03 pm: CRPF officers and their family members hold a candle-light march in Bhopal.
6.10 pm: Several trade organisations call for a bandh in Kashmir on Sunday to protest the attacks against Kashmiris in other parts of India. The Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Forum and the Kashmir Economic Alliance are among the bodies that will take part in the bandh. Some traders shut their shops in Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Saturday too, according to the Greater Kashmir.
5.50 pm: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah says he is disappointed that the resolutoin passed after the all-party meeting in Delhi did not call for calm. “Disappointed the resolution did not include a call for calm,” he says. “Reports of violence in Jammu & [and] tension in university/college campuses in some states, I would have expected an appeal for calm to have gone with the condemnation & [and] condolences.”
5.45 pm: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti cautions against letting people use the Pulwama attack as an “an excuse to persecute or harass people” from the state.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs issueD an advisory to all states and union territories to take necessary measures to ensure the safety of Kashmiri students and residents following reports that Kashmiri students were being harassed ad threatened in Dehradun, Aligarh and Ambala.
5.42 pm: The Major-rank officer died while defusing an IED in Rajouri district’s Naushera sector, ANI reports.
5.30 pm: An Army officer dies in an explosion in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir. More details are awaited.
5 pm: The Bengaluru Police book a Kashmiri youth for allegedly posting derogatory remarks following Thursday’s attack, PTI reports. Abid Malik was booked under relevant sections of the IPC and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, for sharing images of the attack on his Facebook profile with the caption “the real surgical attack”. During investigation, the police found that Malik had returned to Kashmir after studying and working in Bengaluru for some time.
4.54 pm: “It is known world over that terrorist organisations are aided and abetted by Pakistan,” Bihar CM Nitish Kumar adds. “The terrorists seem to be hell bent upon destroying the world with their activities. This cannot be tolerated. Two jawans from our state have lost their lives while another one is injured.”
He adds that the state government will extend all possible assistance to the bereaved family members. “In addition to payment of ex-gratia that is normally paid to martyred security personnel, the state will bear the expenses of education and marriage of their children,” he adds.
4.52 pm: The Pulwama terror attack was unprecedented, says Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. “Response is inevitable,” he tells PTI. “Its nature and severity have to be decided. But the prevailing mood in the nation calls for stern action.”
4.37 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says Pakistan has become synonymous with terrorism. Jawans will decide “what, where, when and how the perpetrators of the Pulwama attack will be punished”, he says in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal.
“A nation which came into existence after Partition and encourages terror activities, and which is on the verge of bankruptcy, has now become the second name for terror,” he adds.
4.24 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee participates in a march in Kolkata for the victims of the Pulwama terror attack.
4.22 pm: “We stand with the family of those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi says in Maharashtra’s Dhule, ANI reports. “This is a time to grieve, but I want to assure every family that we will avenge the tears you have been forced to shed.” He will inaugurate several projects in Dhule on Saturday.
4.08 pm: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs issues an advisory to all states and union territories to take necessary measures to ensure the safety of Kashmiri students and residents, ANI reports. Kashmiri students in Dehradun, Aligarh and Ambala have complained of being harassed and threatened following the terror attack in Pulwama on Thursday.
2.36 pm: India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria leaves the Ministry of External Affairs after consultations with senior officials, reports ANI. He had been called back to Delhi for discussions following the Pulwama attack.
2.20 pm: The bodies of CRPF jawans who died in Thursday’s attack are being returned home for their last rites. Here are some visuals.
1.45 pm: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who attended the all-party meeting, says the government had passed similar resolutions after the Pathankot and Uri attacks in 2016.
“We have told them [central government] that they should now take action,” he says.
1.42 pm: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has announced government jobs for a family member each of the two CRPF jawans from the state who were killed in the attack.
Earlier, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrived at Tiruchirapalli to receive the body of one of the jawans.
1.40 pm: CRPF Director General RR Bhatnagar, who visited the site of the attack, says forensic and National Investigation Agency teams are at work there. “The investigation is going on,” he says. “Once the investigation is concluded, then only more details can be given.”
1.30 pm: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad says several national and regional parties had supported the move to call such a meeting. “The entire nation is in mourning today and is angry,” he says.
“I had also said that barring war, for the first time since 1947, such a large number of security personnel have been killed in an attack,” says Azad. “We stand with our security forces – the Army, CRPF, local police.”
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday had extended support to the government. “The aim of terrorism is to divide this country and we are not going to be divided,” Gandhi had said. “The entire opposition will stand together with our jawans and our government.”
1.20 pm: The resolution talks about the menace of cross-border terrorism. “Of late, terrorism in India is being actively encouraged by the forces across the border,” it says. “India has displayed both firmness and resilience in dealing with these challenges.”
1.15 pm: The all-party meeting called by the government has ended. A resolution passed at the meeting says, “We strongly condemn the dastardly terror act of February 14 at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir in which lives of 40 brave jawans of CRPF were lost. We, along with all our countrymen, stand with their families in this hour of grief.”
Several leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress, Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Congress, Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena, Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference, were in attendance.
11.15 am: Indian National Lok Dal leader Abhay Singh Chautala, who was scheduled to visit Lahore, cancels his trip in the wake of the attack.
Chautala, an accused in a case of disproportionate assets, was to travel to Lahore for a personal visit after Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Friday gave him permission to do so.
11.12 am: The all-party meeting called by the Centre is now under way.
11.10 am: The curfew imposed in Jammu will remain in place till further orders, according to Greater Kashmir. “We will take a call later in the day after assessing the overall law and order situation,” said an unidentified official. Mobile internet services continue to be suspended as well.
At least 12 people were injured in the violence in Jammu after locals reportedly pelted stones at police and torched vehicles.
11.08 am: A team of National Investigation Agency has reached the site of the attack for further investigation, according to ANI. The agency on Friday had dispatched a forensic team to assist the state police.
Explosive specialists of the Black Cat commando force of the National Security Guard have also joined the investigation.
10.20 am: Members of the Uttar Pradesh IPS Association will contribute their salary for a day to the family members of the CRPF personnel who died in the attack. The amount will be sent to the CRPF headquarters in Delhi from the CRPF Frontier Headquarters in Lucknow.
10.15 am: Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba has arrived at the residence of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh ahead of an all-party meeting convened on Saturday.
10 am: The bodies of the CRPF jawans who died in the attack are being sent back home for their last rites.
8.40 am: Senior BJP leader LK Advani on Friday said the attack on the CRPF convoy should be considered an attack on the nation, according to PTI.
“Terrorists and their sponsors should know that India can neither be divided nor deterred by their evil designs,” said Advani. “The entire nation should stand united in firm support of whatever way the government of India decides to respond to this attack.”
8.22 am: Mamata Banerjee also raises questions about intelligence failures and the security apparatus.
“Was there any intelligence failure? What was National Security Advisor doing?” she asked. “People are asking these questions and they have a right to know. We want strong action against the culprits.”
8.20 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised PM Narendra Modi for inaugurating the Vande Bharat Express a day after the Pulwama attack and said the Centre should have declared a three-day mourning period.
“Even today, the Prime Minister inaugurated a railway project. If anything serious happens, we must not [hold such events],” she said. “We should avoid political and government programmes.”
8.18 am: Pawar, who has been a defence minister in the past, said the manner in which the attack was carried out raised serious questions about the country’s ability to prevent such terrorist incidents.
“The attack shows that there was information with the terrorists about the movement of such a large convoy. Normally, this kind of movement is done in secrecy,” he said. “It was a planned attack. This also raises doubt on the kind of secrecy maintained.”
8.15 am: While many Opposition leaders, including Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, extended support to the government, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Pawar reminded Modi about the earlier statements he had made after terror attacks under the Congress-led UPA government.
“I remember those who are in power today... the Prime Minister, when he was not in power and was the chief minister of Gujarat, used to go all over the country, when Manmohan Singh was prime minister, saying why only issue statements condemning a terrorist act,” said Pawar. “He [Modi] used to say that the government lacks capability and it was possible only for people like him, with a 56-inch chest, to teach [terrorists] a lesson.”
8.10 am: Following massive protests in Jammu, where an indefinite curfew was imposed on Friday, the Army has deployed nine security columns with air support.
“The Army has reacted promptly. Nine Internal Security Columns of the Army from Tiger division were deployed in Gujjar Nagar, Janipur, Shahidi Chowk, Talab Khatika and other areas of Jammu city,” says an unidentified senior Army officer. “They have been provided air support from the White Knight Corps.”
The Army deployed helicopters and utility armoured vehicles and the security columns conducted flag marches to monitor the situation. “The proactive approach of the state police, divisional commissioner, collector’s office and the Army has ensured that the situation remains in control,” the officer added.
8.05 am: India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria has been called back to Delhi for discussions after the Pulwama attack, according to NDTV.
India on Friday also summoned Pakistan’s envoy and lodged an official protest. Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood and told him that Islamabad must take “immediate and verifiable” steps against Jaish-e-Mohammed, and “must immediately stop groups or individuals associated with terrorism operating from its territories.
8.03 am: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday says there is “incontrovertible evidence” about Pakistan’s “direct” involvement in the attack, according to The Indian Express. Jaitley said that parties are likely to be briefed about the attack and the situation arising from it at the all-party meeting on Saturday.
8 am: India has slammed Pakistan for saying it had no role in the attack, which was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed, according to PTI.
“Pakistan cannot claim that it is unaware of their [terror groups] presence and their activities,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Friday. “They have not taken any action against these groups despite international demands, especially against groups and individuals proscribed by the UN and other countries.”
“The Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility for the attack,” he said. “The organisation and its leadership are located in Pakistan.”
7.58 am: Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das says his government will pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and a job to the kin of Vijay Soreng, the CRPF jawan from the state killed in the attack.
“Martyrs don’t die, they attain heaven,” says Das. “I pay my tribute to the martyrs.”
7.55 am: US National Security Advisor John Bolton spoke to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Friday and discussed the attack on security forces.
“I told Ajit Doval today that we support India’s right to self-defence,” Bolton told PTI. “I have spoken to him twice, including this morning... and expressed US’ condolences over the terrorist attack.”
The US has clearly told Pakistan to end support to terrorist safe havens, said Bolton. “We have been very clear on that score... and we are continuing to be in discussions we are going to have with the Pakistanis,” he added.
7.52 am: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterates his country’s stand that Pakistan must not provide safe haven to terrorists that threaten international security. “The US condemns the horrific terror attack on Indian security forces,” he says. “We stand with India as it confronts terrorism.”
In a statement on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had said the attack “only strengthens our resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation and coordination between the US and India”. She had also asked Pakistan to immediately end its support to terrorists.
7.50 am: The Ladakh Buddhist Association organised a candlelight march in Leh on Friday to pay tributes to the CRPF jawans killed in the attack, according to ANI.
7.45 am: The police will decide on Saturday if curfew in Jammu should be lifted. “The curfew was imposed in the city area of Jammu as it was the area where most of the incidents occurred,” says Deputy Commissioner Ramesh Kumar. “We will assess the situation in the morning and decide whether to lift the curfew or not.”
The indefinite curfew was imposed in parts of Jammu after protests broke out on Friday. Residents reportedly pelted stones at police and torched vehicles in Gujjar Nagar area. At least 12 people were injured in the violence.
7.42 am: Former President Pranab Mukherjee says he is extremely pained by this “act of inumanity” and exhorts the nation to stand together in this hour of grief. “The united front put up by political parties and politicians across the spectrum is a sight of that unity,” he says.
Mukherjee also thanks the countries who extended support. “The response of the international community in condemning this barbarous attack in one voice will strengthen our resolve to fight this menace,” he adds.
7.40 am: All prior commitments of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for Saturday and Sunday have been cancelled, ANI reports. Sitharaman will go to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to pay her last respects to the CRPF jawans of the two states who lost their lives in the attack.
7.30 am: The all-party meeting will be held in the Parliament library at 11 am. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday morning.
After the meeting, Arun Jaitley, who resumed charge of the Finance Ministry, said, “The home minister, after his return from Kashmir, will soon call an all-party meeting.”