Uri terror attack
Uri tehsil is a ‘C’ or a toppled ‘U’, with the dotted lines that mark the Line of Control (LoC) running along its three sides. The town of Uri, surrounded by villages all the way up to the LoC, is only 6 km from the nearest point on the border. It was always a place of tension and war. However, the ceasefire that India and Pakistan reached in 2003 proved to be a game-changer. Though news of violations kept trickling in, the whiff of lasting peace between the two warring nations changed the lives of people in the town. The sense of relief that followed the truce brought with it some permanence — dilapidated school buildings and marketplaces were rebuilt, and development, which had been too much to ask for in a shelling-prone zone, picked pace once again. Over the years, business in Uri looked up, and in 2005, the town got its first college — the Government Degree College, Uri — in the main town, although it’s still all bricks and barracks. Before the college came up, students had to travel to Baramulla after school and to Srinagar for further studies.
But now this terror attack that took place on the early hours of the 18th september 2016 makes us feel that gaain Uri is not a place for people to live. When military personnels could have been killed so brutally where is the place for civilians here. In Uri, there’s little to tell one day apart from the other. Like most small towns, Uri decides its pace. It is a town with one small health centre, a police station, no petrol pump, three government schools and, for a state that contributes over 1,200 MW of electricity to the state sector and about 2,000 MW to the central sector, patchy electricity. It also houses the 480 MW NHPC power station commissioned in 1997.
About 75 per cent of Uri’s population depends on agriculture — growing and trading in fruits, dry fruits and paddy. According to members of the market committee of the town, Uri does business worth about Rs 80 crore a year, fuelled largely by sales of fresh and dry fruits.
The residents of Uri believe that their proximity to the border makes them different from the rest of the Valley. This Uri exception marks their daily lives — in their relationship with the Army and in the way they have largely stayed away from uprisings in the rest of the Valley.Residents here understand that since theirs is a border area, the Army is an inevitable presence.The Army has reached out too. In Uri, locals have access to Army canteens, they often consult Army doctors, and shepherds trim the grass in the helipad and carry it back to feed their livestock. Since Uri is so close to the border, forces are not allowed to keep their families, but the Army has a school within the camp that caters to children of the town. With no petrol pump in the town, the Army is known to sometimes help residents with fuel. Besides, there is no boundary wall that separates the Army camp from the civilian areas around it.
The bus service, which connects Srinagar to Muzaffarabad in PoK, runs through Uri. In Uri, the bus goes right through the garrison and makes a stop at Salamabad, a village just across the Army camp. From there, it reaches Aman Setu, the peace bridge which passengers cross on foot to reach Muzaffarabad.
The attack on Uri
The 2016 Uri attack was an attack by four heavily armed terrorists on 18 September 2016, near the town of Uri in the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was reported as “the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades”. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, though the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed is suspected of being involved in the planning and execution of the attack. At the time of the attack, the Kashmir Valley region was at the centre of unrest, during which 85 civilians had been killed and thousands injured in clashes with security forces.
It is believed that the terrorists spent at least a day in the mountains above the brigade headquarters complex, observing their target. The bulk of the fatalities took place in a cook-house and store room which burned down during the attack. The two buildings had been bolted from outside to prevent those inside from escaping before being set on fire, suggesting that the terrorists had a high degree of knowledge about their targets.
They were said to have lobbed 17 grenades in three minutes. As a rear administrative base camp with tents caught fire, 17 army personnel were killed. A gun battle ensued lasting six hours, during which all the four militants were killed. An additional 19-30 soldiers were reported to have been injured in the attack. Combing operations continued to flush out additional terrorists thought to be alive.
Most of the soldiers killed were from the 10 Dogra and 6 Bihar regiments One of the injured soldiers succumbed to his injuries on 19 September at R&R Hospital in New Delhi, followed by another soldier on 24 September, bringing the death toll to 19. The attack comes two years after terrorists carried out a similar type of attack at Mohra, in the same region. Ten security personnel were killed in the attack that took place on December 5, 2014.
Facts that point to the terrorist are from Pakistan
- Lt General Ranbir Singh, Director General of Military Operations, had told reporters Sunday that the weapons had Pakistan markings. NIA officials, however, underlined that syringes, painkillers, other medications and packets of ready-to-eat food carried by the terrorists bore the markings of several Pakistani manufacturers, linking the perpetrators to that country.
- Even more damning evidence was discovered in the underwear pocket of one of the terrorists, a letter by Pakistani intelligence agency ISI with complete details of their support for terrorists.
- the attackers adopted the tactic of using Pakistani terror pigeons to deliver explosive devices in the paths of Indian army personnel
- The ICom-manufactured handset used by the terrorists, intelligence sources said, matched a device recovered from Bahadur Ali, a Pakistani national arrested in July. The device was used to communicate with the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s main control station, code-named Alpha3.
- but all investigations are preliminary and only detailed probing will give the actual picture
- the GPS held by the terrorsit showed that they were of Pakistan origin
- the help terrorist also confirmed that they has been trained in Pakistan
World leaders reaction to Uri attack
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the nation that the people behind the Uri attack would be punished. In a series of tweets, PM said the services of those martyred in Uri would never be forgotten. He also extended his condolences to the bereaved families. PM Modi also said that he had spoken to the Home Minister and Defence Minister adding that Parrikar would soon visit Jammu and Kashmir to take stock of the situation.
- Minster of State for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and former Army chief Vijay Kumar Singh stated that India will give a “befitting reply” to the attack. He called upon the Indian Armed Forces to scale up their security and described a cold and calculated response as the need of the hour. He also called for an investigation into the shortcomings which led to the attack while stating that the Army should decide its response “coolly” with proper planning.
- Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi called the Uri attack an attack on national conscience. She also said that the perpetrators should be severely dealt with along with the forces behind them. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi expressed his condolences on Twitter saying, “Strongly condemn the militant attack on Army base in Uri. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the bravehearts martyred in the attack.
- India called upon the United Nations Human Rights Council to urge Pakistan to put an end to cross-border infiltration and dismantle the non-state militant infrastructure since the likes of Hafeez Saeed (the chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba) and Syed Salahuddin (the chief of Hizbul Mujahideen) can hold huge rallies in Pakistan’s main cities. It suggested that active support for such groups has become the “new normal” in Pakistan. It claimed that “zero tolerance” to non-state militancy was an international obligation.
- Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the attack saying, “Strongly condemn Uri Attack. The attack seems to be aimed at triggering fresh violence and creating a war-like situation in the region. Heartfelt condolences to bereaved families and also pray for early recovery of those injured in the attack. J&K has always been worst victim of Indo-Pak hostility & its ppl have been paying a colossal price for same for past over 6 decades.”
- Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also denounced the terrorist killing of 17 soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir and said “India cannot be cowed down by such attacks”. “I strongly condemn the cowardly attack at Uri in which 17 soldiers lost thier lives,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader tweeted. “My heartfelt condolences to the families of those martyred in Uri,” he added.
- President Pranab Mukherjee took to Twitter to express his denunciation of the terrorist attack and wrote, “Strongly condemn outrageous terrorist attack on Army base in Uri; tributes to brave soldiers who made supreme sacrifice. Heartfelt condolences to families of those bereaved in Uri terrorist attack; prayers for speedy recovery of injured. India will not be cowed down by such attacks, we will thwart the evil designs of terrorists and their backers.”
- United Kingdom – Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson condemned the attack. “The UK strongly condemns this morning’s terrorist attack in Indian-administered Kashmir. I offer my deepest condolences to the victims and their families and friends. The UK condemns all forms of terrorism, and stands shoulder to shoulder with India in the fight against terrorism, and in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”
- United States – State Department spokesperson John Kirby said: “The United States strongly condemns the terrorist attack on an Indian army base in Kashmir during the early morning of September 18. We extend our condolences to the victims and their families. The United States is committed to our strong partnership with the Indian government to combat terrorism.”
- China – The Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning the attack and expressed sympathy towards the families of the slain soldiers as well as the injured soldiers. It also expressed concerns about rising tensions in the Kashmir region and called upon India and Pakistan to hold dialogue and consultations in order to solve their differences and counter-terrorism operations.
- Japan – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement which read: “The Government of Japan strongly condemns the terrorist attack on the Indian Base in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, and extends its sincere condolences to those who lost their lives and their bereaved families, and expresses its heartfelt sympathy to those who were injured.”
Lapses that led to the attack
An initial investigation into the attack indicated that there were several procedural lapses at the camp. According to the standard security procedures, any tall grass and bushes around vital security installations should be cut. However, this procedure was not followed by the Uri camp which might have allowed terrorists to sneak into the camp undetected using the tall grass and bushes around the perimeter. In addition, the probe also indicated that two manned guard posts failed to detect the intrusion because the coordination between them might have been poor. It also indicated that the terrorists had infiltrated into Indian territory through Haji Peer Pass on the intervening night of 16–17 September and stayed at Sukhdar village which is located at a vantage point that allows an unhindered view of the layout of the camp as well as movement of the personnel in it.
The fallen heroes of Uri attack
Pakistans reaction to Uri attack
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has claimed that the attack on India’s army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri could be a reaction against the atrocities committed by India in Kashmir. Sharif was speaking to reporters at Britain’s Luton Airport on Friday night (23 September) while on his way back to Pakistan from the UN General Assembly in New York.
He blamed the unrest in the Kashmir Valley to the killing of separatist militant leader Burhan Wani,Around 108 people have died and thousands have been injured in the Valley since Wani’s death on 8 July.
“The Uri attack can be the reaction of the atrocities in Kashmir, as the close relatives and near and dear ones of those killed and blinded over the last two months were hurt and outraged,” Sharif told reporters on Friday in London where he had stopped on his way back from New York after attending the UN General Assembly session.
Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan said there were several contradictions within Indian media reports over the evidence, and claimed India was imposing censorship when their “lies were exposed.”[ Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif termed the attack an “inside job”, saying that no proof was provided substantiating India’s allegations, and said India was not serious about solving the Kashmir dispute.Pakistan’s envoy in New Delhi, Abdul Basit, told India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar that India sought to divert world attention from state atrocities in Kashmir by blaming the attack on Pakistan. Basit also added that if India was serious about the investigations, it should not avoid allowing independent investigators to probe it.
The Pakistani prime minister also condemned India for blaming Islamabad “without any evidence” for the Uri attack. “This attack in Kashmir in which (Indian) soldiers were killed — there could have been a reaction by Kashmiris. So to blame us within 12 hours (of the Uri attack), that Pakistan is responsible, I think this was not appropriate,” Sharif said, while speaking in Urdu.
He had earlier described Wani as the “symbol of the latest Kashmiri Intifada” and called for an investigation into the “killings” of Kashmiris.
In the hours following the attack, Pakistan’s military established a hotline with the Indian military. The Pakistani military rejected Indian accusations, saying that infiltration was not possible across the heavily guarded LOC. Pakistan’s Director General of Military Operations also asked the Indian military to provide actionable intelligence.
Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif claimed that India was propagating a “hostile narrative” in response the attack and also stated that the Pakistani armed forces were “prepared to respond to the entire spectrum of direct and indirect threat.”