First anniversary of Lethpora attack

‘Changed strategy, tactics, heightened vigil helped thwart repeat of attack so far’

Top CRPF officials say less road convoys, more air travel for men key reasons for hassle-free journey of men

Srinagar, Feb 13 : With Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) all set to observe the first anniversary of last year’s February 14 deadly suicide attack at Lethpora, Pulwama, the top officials of the forces on Thursday revealed that “changed strategy, tactics and heightened vigil helped its men to stay safe in Kashmir.” However, they stressed that the force can’t completely rule out repeat of Lethpora type attack in future.

In an exclusive chat with the wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), a top CRPF official said that no one can guarantee that February 14 (last year) like incidents won’t repeat in the future given the level of frustration militant outfits in Kashmir are facing at present. “But one thing is sure that no outfit would find it easy to target us the way they did on February 14 last year,” he said.

Last year on February 14, a suicide bomber of Jaish-e-Muhammad outfit Adil Dar, rammed his explosive laden vehicle into the CRPF convoy at Lethpora blowing himself up and killing at least 40 CRPF men and injuring many. It was the deadliest attack by the militants since the eruption of militancy in 1990.

The CRPF has decided to observe a “commemoratory function” at the 185 battalion headquarters at Lethpora (tomorrow ) to pay floral tributes to the all the 40 slain CRPF men.

The officer said that even though frequent inputs keep on coming that militants may target convoys of CRPF and other forces but given the changed strategy and the security drills the force has adopted since past one, “it won’t be a cake walk for militants.”

Disclosing a few things the force followed to prevent repeat of Lethpora. “We have bettered our capability for training, we have bettered in terms of equipment, tactics, mobility and navigation,” the officer told KNO. “Less dependency on road convoys and more travel through air was one of the key factors responsible for thwarting the attacks by militants.”

He said that Road Opening Parties (ROPs) played a vital role in preventing the repeat of Lethpora as they maintained highest level of coordination and vigil whenever there was a convoy.

He said above all the coordination and synergy among the police, army and CRPF also helped CRPF men remain safe. “One of the big examples is that recently in Srinagar police busted a Jaish-e-Muhammad module from whom a suicide vest filled with almost 200 Gelatin sticks and hundreds of small round-shaped steel balls were recovered,” he said.

About tomorrow’s function, the CRPF officer said that they will be paying homage to all the 40 slain CRPF men who laid their lives.