Pulwama Attack: Church Mourns Soldiers

Published 18 February 2019  |  
A car-bound suicide bomber carrying 350 kilograms of explosives rammed into a bus carrying the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to Srinagar, killing over 40 soldiers.

The Catholic Church in India has condemned the gruesome terrorist attack on the country's paramilitary police in Pulwama district in Kashmir on Feb. 14 that killed 40 soldiers and expressed its condolences for the families who lost their loved ones.

A car-bound suicide bomber carrying 350 kilograms of explosives rammed into a bus carrying the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to Srinagar, the city of Kashmir. The bus was part of a convoy of about 70 vehicles carrying about 2,500 soldiers to the restive region.

The attack instantly blew up the bus, killing at least 40 soldiers, while others continue to battle for their lives. The injured were immediately moved to the army base hospital in Srinagar.

The Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack. A local man named Adil Ahmed Dar was identified as the attacker.

Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, the secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), denounced Feb. 14 attack as "mindless violence".

"It's a very sad day for us here in India. It's a sad day for those 44 and more families who have lost their very young sons as well as for those who are injured," said Mascarenhas in an interview to Vatican News.

He warned that "violence cannot solve anything and violence will not bring anything to anyone."

"The earlier these hard-hearted people stop killing innocent people in suicide bombs and in wayside killings, the better it is," he said.

The situation in Kashmir has been tense since 2014 and there have been several deadly attacks on soldiers. In the last five years, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a 93 percent rise in death of security personnel.

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