After the car bomb attack on a CRPF convoy at Pulwama in Srinagar on February 14, 2019, the number of soldiers being moved in convoys along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway has dropped to almost a trickle. The attack that left 40 troopers dead had brought India and Pakistan on the brink of war, said an official aware of the matter.
An official on condition of anonymity said, “Material, rations etc. are moved through the same road and soldiers move with convoys to protect the material.” He said that a year ago convoys comprising 10-70 odd vehicles moved between Jammu and Srinagar ferrying soldiers daily and in contrast, only 7-8 convoys ferrying material and some soldiers are moved in a month now.
The Pulwama attack prompted India on February 26, 2019, to carry out an airstrike on a terror camp in Pakistan, which retaliated a day later. Pakistan captured and later released an India pilot after air combat.
A bulk of the CRPF troopers, or about 70 to 80% of them, is moved on Air India flights. Thrice a week Air India airlifts soldiers and officers between Jammu and Srinagar. “The thrice a week flights between Jammu and Srinagar continue and are largely used by soldiers and officers who belong to Himachal, Uttarakhand, and Punjab,” a third official said. “More troops are moved by air…”
The CRPF has ensured that the kin of all 40 soldiers killed in the attack have been compensated. “All the families, except one, have received at least Rs 1.3 crore on an average. In addition, they have also given alternate employment,” a fourth senior official said. The benefits to one family had to be withheld because of a dispute over who the next of kin is.
The CRPF has also launched a mobile phone application to keep in touch with all the 2,199 soldiers killed in action recently.