It was exactly three years ago that 40 jawans were martyred when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed a vehicle full of explosives into a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in J&K’s Pulwama.
A month after the dastardly attack, one of the key conspirators, Umar Farooq Alvi, was eliminated by security forces along with another terrorist named Kamran. Alvi was the nephew of Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar. Both terrorists were hiding in Suthsoo Kala locality of Nowgam in Jammu and Kashmir when security forces surrounded the location in the early hours of March 29, 2019. The operation lasted around 30 minutes during which the duo was eliminated.
On the third anniversary of the Pulwama terror attack, News18 can disclose that the operation against conspirator Alvi and Kamran hinged on an old message the former had sent to Superintendent of Police, Pulwama District threatening to kill him.
Highly placed sources told News18 that Alvi had sent the SP a WhatsApp message on his personal message saying “Hi Janu”. He followed it up with an emoji of a pistol and another message saying “I will come to your house and kill you”.
On receiving this message from an unknown number, the SP saved it under the contact name ‘Hi Janu’ and sent it to the technical team to be put under surveillance. The number remained inactive for months together after this.
One night, however, when Alvi and Kamran were hiding inside a house in Nowgam, the former inserted the old SIM card in his mobile phone, and as soon it was activated, the Pulwama Police Cyber Cell was alerted as the number was still under surveillance.
By March 29, the technical team had narrowed the duo’s location to the exact mobile signal tower and got the location where the mobile phone was located. An operation was planned soon and forces were sent to the spot. Source said Alvi soon realised he has been cornered and tried to call his handlers in Pakistan’s Bahawalpur, but in vain.
Sources added that Alvi’s increased smartphone usage was a worry for his handlers too since he has been taught during terror training to limit smartphone use and frequently change SIM cards to avoid being traced.
Top sources added that concerned over Alvi’s smartphone addiction, his handler in Pakistan, Rauf Asghar, the brother of Masood Azhar, had told him to destroy his phone after the Pulwama attack. But Alvi did not do so and to mislead his handler he sent Asghar the video of destroying a different phone. Sources also said Alvi had been exchanging voice notes on WhatsApp with one Insha Jan before he was eliminated by the security forces.
In the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, the Indian Air Force had carried out retaliatory strikes against terrorist camps in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26, 2019.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to the CRPF soldiers who lost their lives in the terrorist attack. “I pay homage to all those martyred in Pulwama on this day in 2019 and recall their outstanding service to our nation. Their bravery and supreme sacrifice motivates every Indian to work towards a strong and prosperous country,” Modi tweeted.