Pulwama attack fallout: India withdraws most favoured nation status to Pak
The government on Friday stepped up pressure on Pakistan in the aftermath of Pulwama terror attack carried out on Thursday. India withdrew the most favoured nation status granted to Pakistan after 23 years. The decision was taken at the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Soon after the CCS meet, PM Modi, at a function to flag off the Vande Bharat Express in New Delhi, said the security forces have been given a “free hand” to deal with the challenges posed by terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
“There is much anger among people due to this terror attack. People’s blood is boiling. I understand this. The nation has some expectations at this moment. Emotion is running high to do something, which is natural. The security forces have been given free hand and we have full faith in the bravery of our soldiers,” PM Modi said a little after chairing a meeting the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to review the security situation after the Pulwama terror attack.
He said, “I want to tell the terror outfits and their supporters that they have committed a grave mistake. I want to assure the nation that those who are behind this terror attack, those have committed this crime, will be definitely punished.”
“If our neighbour, which has been isolated in the world, thinks that by carrying out such attacks, hatching such conspiracies, it would be successful in bringing instability in India, it is a big mistake on its part,” PM Modi said without taking the name of Pakistan.
The CRPF has confirmed 38 deaths in the terror attack, counted among the bloodiest in Kashmir. Initial reports, quoting security officials, had earlier said 44 jawans were feared to have been killed in the attack. A Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into a CRPF convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.
Watch: United Nations condemns Pulwama attack, calls for justice
At the CCS meet, PM Modi held consultations with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval over the security situation in the Kashmir Valley.
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Singh spoke to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, who was in Bhutan’s capital Thimpu, and summoned him back to Delhi. Rajnath also met Special DIB, IB director and NSA Ajit Doval. A 12-member team of the National Investigative Agency (NIA), led by an IG-rank officer also headed to the blast site in Pulwama.
NSA is monitoring the situation in the Kashmir Valley. He is in touch with senior CRPF officials taking briefing on the situation on a minute-to-minute basis.
In the attack that took place around 3.30 pm, a Mahindra Scorpio, loaded with nearly 250kg of explosives rammed into a convoy of the security forces on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. The Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack and also identified the suicide bomber as Adil Dhar, a local youth.