On 14 February 2019, a 78-vehicle CRPF convoy of 2,500 paramilitary troops was travelling in the Kashmir Valley towards Srinagar. The convoy had made a pre-dawn start from the city of Jammu, 190 miles to the south, in order to reach Srinagar before dusk.
The convoy was of unusually large size because the Jammu–Srinagar highway had been closed for a few days due to snowfall and landslides, a common occurrence in winter. Around midday, the convoy crossed the Banihal Pass into the Valley, and at 3 p.m. passed Awantipora, a town on the highway.
The town of Pampore, famous for the saffron fields in its vicinity, was next, followed by Srinagar. Between Awantipora and Pampore, a village called Lethipora spreads out on both sides of the highway, which follows the trajectory of the Jhelum River. The spot is 15 miles short of Srinagar. Pampore, Lethipora and Awantipora are all in the Valley’s Pulwama district, immediately south of Srinagar.
As the convoy rumbled through Lethipora at 3.15 p.m., a small van came out of the side road off the highway and rammed into one of the buses in the convoy. The van detonated and the blast destroyed the bus, killing all the forty CRPF troopers travelling in it.
Another thirty-five troopers riding in vehicles immediately front and behind were wounded. It was the single most deadly attack on Indian security forces in three decades of the Kashmir insurgency. They had not suffered such a major loss of life in any incident since 1990. The van carried a bomb weighing several hundred kilograms, made with a mix of RDX and ammonium nitrate.
My heartfelt tribute to all our brave soldiers who lost their lives on this day in Pulwama. We will always remain indebted to them and their families for their supreme sacrifice 🙏🏻 #PulwamaAttack— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) February 14, 2022